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Re: Debian-installer, older hardware, boot loaders, miboot & amiboot & ..

On Wed, Mar 31, 2004 at 02:06:11PM +0200, Sven Luther wrote:
> Huh ? If it would be licenced under the MIT/X11 licence, there is no
> need for the source code for us to distribute it ?

I was figuring we'd just disassemble it and call that the source code.

As long as that's true in practice for us, and we actually treat it
like de facto source code, adding comments to it and modifying it as
needed, I don't see a DFSG 2 problem here.

> This would be a good solution. What about the later Apple licence ? 

If we can get it under the MIT/X11 license it doesn't matter what other
licenses it's under.  The MIT/X11 license is non-exclusive.

> Notice that the DFSG doesn't cope well with lost source code or lost
> legal paperstuff needed to assertain (and modify) the licence. As was
> shown in the case of the ocaml old-bignum case, whose licence ownership
> was lost in the DEC -> Compaq -> HP mess.

I don't think the spirit, intent, or letter of DFSG 2 is breached as
long as we have something that *really is* the source code for us.

What does violate DFSG 2 is shipping binaries, or obfuscated source, and
hand-waving it as "Free" because it's the "best we can do", when it's a
hopeless task for us to substatively modify the work.

My argument does presume that we have people who are capable of hacking
up OldWord PowerMac boot sectors, and who proceed to do it to get d-i
working for those machines.  From personal experience with some of our
developers, I don't think our ability to do can reasonably be

> In this case, would a disclaimer from HP as the potential IP holder be
> enough for freeing the code, at least until someone else with the said
> IP papers can come out and claim the copyright ? Especially when there
> is assumption that such papers where irremedially lost. A nice
> comparative of this is the AROS project, who were told by Amiga Inc to
> be infringing the Amiga IP or whatever, but where Amiga Inc was never
> able to come up with the papers supporting their claim, as it seems that
> the amiga IP rights got lost somehow in the 10+ proprietary chain.
> Probably someone left with them in their pocket during that time.

I don't feel qualified to speak to the ocaml-bignum or AROS cases, and
which in any case are not relevant to d-i.

I will observe that if the people who claim you're infringing their
copyrights publicly admit that they can't susbtantiate their claim,
there's probably not much to worry about.  But I am not a lawyer and
this is not legal advice.

G. Branden Robinson                |        Beware of and eschew pompous
Debian GNU/Linux                   |        prolixity.
branden@debian.org                 |        -- Charles A. Beardsley
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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