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

On Wed, Oct 04, 2006 at 10:28:20AM +0200, Sven Luther wrote:

> There is some claims that some of those blobs represent just register dumps,

This is a strawman, and Sven knows this as I have told him quite plainly
that this is not my claim.

> So, the RMs are making claims that those sourceless GPLed drivers don't
> cause any kind of distribution problem,

This is a red herring.  The *relevant* claim I have made is that it is
inappropriate to use our GR mechanism to attempt to *decide* whether GPLed
drivers cause a distribution problem.  The release team, the ftp team, and I
suspect even most of the kernel team have no interest in a GR that
authorizes any distribution of software which it at the same time asserts is

It is not reasonable for the project to vote on questions of legality, nor
is it appropriate to rely on debian-legal for questions of legality.  If the
relevant delegates/maintainers have questions about the legality of
distributing a particular piece of software, they should consult a lawyer.

Sven is incongruously insisting both that these firmware blobs must be
included in etch, *and* that they're illegal to distribute.  This is
nonsense; trying to convince the release team and the ftp team that these
are illegal to distribute is contrary to his stated goal of including
maximum hardware support in etch.  He can't have it both ways, because no GR
can compel the release team or the ftp team to knowingly break the law.

> 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.

I have previously given my own understanding of why it is not a problem for
us to distribute GPLed firmware blobs pending license clarifications, but I
don't see any indication that Sven is interested in understanding that POV,
only in tilting at strawmen; so I don't intend to lose any more time on
discussing this point beyond this single clarification email.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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