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Re: firmware status for eagle-usb-*

[ Stop Cc:ing me please, I read this mailing list. ]

Josh Triplett <josh.trip@verizon.net> - Mon, Oct 18, 2004:

> This argument has been made before, and the clear consensus is that
> firmware is software; this is even clearer than the situation over
> documents and other "data", which were also decided (on a project-wide
> basis) to be software.  There is still occasional argument on the topic
> related to the status of the driver if Debian doesn't distribute the
> firmware at all, but there is a strong consensus against including the
> binary firmware image without source in Debian.

 I'm interested, would you please provide some pointers on those

> My question to you is this: does the author of the firmware edit the
> binary directly, or do they have some other format?  If the latter, it
> shouldn't be in Debian main, and if it is GPLed, we can't legally
> distribute it at all.

 Once again, I think Debian won't be building or running the program
 that is hidden in the binary blob.  I don't see how that relates to the
 program included in Debian.  The binary blob is needed as well as you
 need to talk 

> I'm not sure if I'm parsing this correctly.  Are you saying that some
> modems don't need the firmware to be provided?  If that is the case,
> then the driver has some useful functionality without the non-free
> software, so it can go to main (without the firmware); then you would
> just need to figure out the legal details of supplying the firmware
> (such as the GPL-without-source issue).

 No I'm saying that if the modem would work without the need to send a
 firmware first, or if you could send a firmware if you wish but that is
 not mandatory, then nobody would complain about the abscence of the
 sources of a program that runs on the modem.
   I am comparing the usefulness of the source code of firmware:
 suddenly, when the firmware has not a permanent storage on the device,
 its source needs to be GPL too!  How logical is this?
   Most recent computers have flashable BIOSes, or flashable VGA card
 BIOSes, and nobody went asking for the source of these programs.
 Nobody is interested in modifying the source of such programs, and if
 they were, _this_ would be a project on its own.


Loïc Minier <lool@via.ecp.fr>

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