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Re: Kernel Firmware issue: are GPLed sourceless firmwares legal to distribute ?

Walter Landry <wlandry@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> wrote:
>> So, the RMs are making claims that those sourceless GPLed drivers
>> don't cause any kind of distribution problem, while i strongly
>> believe that the GPL clause saying that all the distribution rights
>> under the GPL are lost if you cannot abide by all points, including
>> the requirement for sources.
> When Debian distributes kernel binaries, Debian makes use of clause 3a
> (accompany with source code), not 3b (written offer) or 3c (pass on
> written offer).  So source has to accompany everything, even if no one
> is asking.

Well, I think Sven didn't make the point of disagreement clear.  It is
whether what in the course of the GR's has been called "sourceless
firmware" is in fact sourceless.  If I understood Anthony Towns
correctly, the ftpmasters and many others want to give those drives the
benefit of doubt and assume that they aren't sourceless, but are, e.g.,
just dumps of unnamed registers and therefore "the preferred form for
modification".  After all, they were what was given to the kernel people
when the driver was released as .c and .h files under the GPL.

So the real question is whether we want to do that, whether in the
particular cases there's in fact any doubt, etc.

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

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