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Re: How long is it acceptable to leave *undistributable* files in the kernel package?

On Wed, 2004-06-16 at 17:18, Michael Poole wrote:
> viro@parcelfarce.linux.theplanet.co.uk writes:
> > On Wed, Jun 16, 2004 at 03:21:38PM -0500, Joe Wreschnig wrote:
> >  
> > [firmware as mere aggregation]
> >> Kernel copyright holders think otherwise, as do many other people.
> >
> > Out of curiosity, could you please show an email from such copyright
> > holder (with some references to the code in kernel contributed by
> > that person) that would say so?
> >
> > It's not impossible that such a thing exists; however, I've heard the
> > quoted statement a *LOT* and so far it always turned out either "FOAF
> > heard about that somewhere" or "well, there's got to be at least one!".
> >
> > Care to show evidence for your statement?  alt.folklore.urban rules,
> > please.
> A little Google shows that Yggdrasil has made such an argument:
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/04/msg00130.html
> Unfortunately for Mr. Richter, Linux does not seem to contain any
> copyright notices attributable to him or Yggdrasil before 2000.  As I
> cited elsewhere, this is at least FOUR YEARS after firmware was
> included in the kernel, so he cannot fairly claim infringement.  He
> should have known that binary firmware existed in the kernel before.

I think it's fair to say he was misled by repeated statements that Linux
was under the GPL, e.g. from README:

  It is distributed under the GNU General Public License - see the
  accompanying COPYING file for more details.

Given the huge amount of code in Linux, it's very possible he didn't
even see any of the non-GPLd code at first, and I would consider it
totally reasonable to trust the README of a program at the outset.
Joe Wreschnig <piman@debian.org>

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