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more kernel firmware stuff


Regarding <http://wiki.debian.net/?KernelFirmwareLicensing>, I've been
discussing firmware licensing w/ various hardware vendors.  Here a
quote from my discussions with QLogic:

> On Wed, 2005-05-11 at 10:22 -0700, David Wagner wrote:
> > Andres,
> > 
> > The firmware files mentioned, run entirely in our HBA RISC processor
> > and do not execute in the Linux kernel domain. We do not intend to
> > distribute the source code for the firmware, only the executable
> > files. We put the GPL wording in these file headers at the request of
> > our corporate customers, some of which have large legal departments
> > which I assume understand the fine points of GPL licensing. 
> > 
> That's fine; I'm not overly concerned whether or not the source code for
> the firmware is made available.  It would be *nice*, but it's not what
> I'm trying to accomplish.  What I'm looking for is a clarification of
> the license.  The GPL is not a valid license for a binary firmware
> image.  I will expand upon that below.
> > So far all the other Linux distributions are fine with the existing
> > files.  
> Debian and Ubuntu are the main distributions (that I'm aware of) right
> now that are stripping out the QLogic drivers due to this firmware
> licensing issue.  I expect others to follow suit, at some point.  Right
> now, however, my concern is with getting the licensing cleared up so
> that Debian can distribute the drivers (I have a Sun machine that
> requires the qla2200 driver).
> > Can you tell me what the issue is as far as Debian is concerned? Do
> The GPL specifies that when binaries are distributed, source must be
> made available by some means.  Currently, if someone were to ask us
> (Debian) for the source to the firmware image, we would be unable to
> provide it.  That would mean we (Debian) are in violation of the
> license.  It is irrelevant what device the firmware code actually
> executes on.  Quoting the GPLv2, "The source code for a work means the
> preferred form of the work for making modifications to it."  Unless
> QLogic is creating the binary image with a hex editor, I don't think it
> could be argued that the firmware image itself is the source code.
> >  you have suggestions as to the exact license agreement wording that
> > you would recommend?
> > 
> Any Free license that's compatible with the GPL would be just fine.  I
> have been recommending the BSD license to hardware vendors.  For
> example:

And so on.  QLogic wants to have a conference call w/ me and their legal
dept, as they have questions on BSD vs GPL licensing.  I think it would be
good to have someone from d-l on the call as well.  Any volunteers?  I'd
like to get someone knowledgeable about GPL and BSD licensing issues,
binary firmware images, and w/ some form of legal background.

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