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Re: firmware status for eagle-usb-*

Loïc Minier wrote:
> Martin Braure de Calignon <braurede@free.fr> - Sat, Oct 09, 2004:
>>I wanted to know if the binary files in the
>>eagle-usb-{utils,data,source} package are free.
>>When I get the source of the package (apt-get source), there is a
>>LICENSE file in the root directory which says that the package is GPL.
>  I've discussed this with the maintainer of eagle-usb-* packages a while
>  ago, and he explained to me that Sagem (upstream for the linux driver
>  and firmware) had released the tarball in two versions, the first one
>  being clearly unclear about the licensing of binary files.
>    The second release of Sagem, which was done thanks to the efforts of
>  Pierre Machard to clarify the situation with Sagem, includes a clear
>  statement that all files in the packages are under the GPL, even the
>  binary firmware.
>  [ Pierre Machard was kind enough to send me the mails he exchanged with
>  people at Sagem, but since they're in french, I'm afraid you wouldn't
>  want me to forward them to the list.  You seem to be a native french
>  speaker, so I might send them offlist -- if you want. ]
>  If you wonder wether the sources of the firmware are distributed, I
>  think they aren't.  But I think this is a different program we are
>  talking about.
>    The program "act as a firmware to drive the F@st 800 modem" could
>  have been put as a program under the GPL, but I think the firmware data
>  itself is under GPL for its use in the program "Sagem drivers for the
>  F@st 800 modem" -- ie the linux driver and utilities.  You can
>  redistribute the binary firmware freely under the terms of the GPL, as
>  you would with a logo for example.

I don't believe you can.  In order to distribute software under the GPL,
we must provide the "preferred form for modification" of that software,
which is the source.  From your description, it sounds like such source
exists but is not being distributed.  This means that we do not have the
preferred form for modification available, so we cannot make it
available to others, which means we can't satisfy our obligations under
the GPL, and therefore we cannot distribute the software at all.

- Josh Triplett

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