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Re: kernel firmware status

On Wed, 06 Apr 2005 08:56:56 -0300, Humberto Massa wrote:

> Andrew Suffield wrote:
>  >>>      The firmware contained herein as keyspan_*.h is
>  >>>      ...
>  >>>      Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of
>  >>>      this firmware image as part of a Linux or other Open
>  >>>      Source operating system kernel in text or binary form
>  >>>      as required.
>  >>>      ...
>  >>>      This firmware may not be modified and may only be
>  >>>      used with Keyspan hardware.  Distribution and/or
>  >>>      Modification of the keyspan.c driver which includes
>  >>>      this firmware, in whole or in part, requires the
>  >>>      inclusion of this statement."
>  >
>  >
>  >Finally, one with a real license. It's obviously non-free,
>  >but I see no reason why it can't be distributed in non-free,
>  >with the usual provisos about proprietary drivers being
>  >entirely unsupportable.
> As I said before, it seems to me that is not distributable
> /unless/ within a whole copy of the kernel; ie neither in a
> kernel-modules-nonfree nor in a keyspan-module-nonfree
> packages.

Hm, I'm not sure I agree with that.  It doesn't say it requires a
*complete* kernel; nor does it say it requires Linux specifically.  We're
distributing the kernel in parts; kernel-source-nonfree is definitely part
of an open source kernel (albeit just drivers for hardware).  I could see
this argued both ways.

Of course, I can contact them and ask them to modify the license as well. 
This falls in line w/ Sven's request[0] for an example license to propose
to firmware copyright holders that will satisfy the requirements of the
kernel, and our non-free distribution.  Obviously, something like the BSD
license is doable, but the firmware authors seem to want to ensure that
the firmware remain unmodified, and/or only be used with their specific

[0] http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/04/msg00152.html

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