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Re: broadcom proposed firmware licence, please comment ...

On Thu, 26 May 2005, Sven Luther wrote:
> On Wed, May 25, 2005 at 08:53:44PM -0700, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > On Wed, 25 May 2005, Sven Luther wrote:
> > > > + * Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of this firmware data
> > > > + * in hexadecimal or equivalent format, provided this copyright notice is
> > > > + * accompanying it.
> > 
> > Would we actually be distributing the hexadecimal format, or would
> > we be distributing the packed binary[1] representation of the
> > hexadecimal format?
> I guess that if there is a 1-1 mapping between the two
> representations, then it falls under the "equivalent" format thingy.

Probably, but it has the quite real tendency to become a lawyer
bomb... a simple clarification from them should be good enough.

> > While it's probably ok the way it is written, if they're going to
> > go through the trouble of drafting a change, they should make it
> > clear that it's also ok to distribute the firmware data in the
> > packed binary form, assuming that's actually what will be
> > distributed.
> What good is this packed binary for ? Also, the way we are going to
> distribute it apart from under hexadecimal format, is by
> distributing the compiled binary driver, which is not clear in the
> above maybe ?

Well, presumably that's what the driver is actually going to be
uploading to the device, not doing the transformation from a hexadecimal
character array to binary, then uploading it.

Furthermore, if it eventually is decided that the driver+firmware
compiled module is a derivative work of the driver, then we may need
to separate out the firmware completely. Ideally the license would
clearly allow this.

[To briefly address the listing of acceptable forms issue here; I
agree that that's the wrong thing to do. The ideal situtation would be
to allow distribution of any transformation of the format... (or if
necessary, any reversible transformation...)]

>   2) distribution as part of a binary module, without necessarily
>   any copyright notice attached, which would be a pain. Since the
>   GPL gives access to the source of the driver when the binary
>   module is available, it also gives access by transition to the
>   copyright notice in question under 1).

If the GPL compells you to provide the copyright notice under 1), then
it compells you to provide the source to this binary snippet. [You
can't have it doing one without it also doing the other.]

Don Armstrong

Our days are precious, but we gladly see them going
If in their place we find a thing more precious growing
A rare, exotic plant, our gardener's heart delighting
A child whom we are teaching, a booklet we are writing
 -- Frederick R�_Wisdom of the Brahmans_ 
 [Hermann Hesse _Glass Bead Game_]

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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