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

On Thu, 2004-06-17 at 14:54, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 17, 2004 at 06:03:16PM +0000, Jim Marhaus wrote:
> > Traditionally people have erred on the side of caution in interpreting free
> > licenses, following the wishes of the copyright holder and looking to the
> > license's author for guidance. In this case the FSF indicates the binary
> > firmware may violate the GPL. Kernel copyright holders also claim this, as well
> > as some legally knowledgeable folks within Debian. Isn't Debian better served
> > by removing the potentially infringing files than playing lawyer and trying to
> > justify the infringement?
> You speak as if this has no negative effects.  In fact, it does.
> By removing, let's say, the tg3 driver, you make Debian unusable for a
> large percentage of users. Those users turn to other distributions who,
> strangely, have much better paid legal counsel than Debian.

Paid legal counsel doesn't mean better legal counsel. The FSF agrees
with the position that the firmware needs to be removed; the FSF has
probably the best legal counsel available regarding the GPL.

> Surely if
> anyone should be concerned, it's one with a half-billion dollar market
> capitalisation rather than one with tens of thousands in its bank account.

Why should we accept this argument for firmware when we didn't accept it
for KDE? And wouldn't the small group with no money, unable to defend
itself, make a much easier target?
Joe Wreschnig <piman@debian.org>

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