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

Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> wrote:
> Hi debian-legal, ...

I've trimmed -release, as luk suggested it's unwelcome there.

> [...] The real problem is that there are a certain
> amount of firmware in the kernel, embedded in the drivers, which have no
> license notice whatsoever, and as thus fall implicitly under the common GPL
> license of the linux kernel. The audit from Larry lists some 40+ such firmware
> blobs.
> There is some claims that some of those blobs represent just register dumps,
> but even then one could argue that the hex blobs doesn't in any way represent
> the prefered form of modification, but rather some kind of register
> name/number and value pair.
> 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.

I'd defer to Larry Doolittle on this one, but I think unless we have
some reason to think there is another form used as source code, it's
fine to consider the only codes our source code - for all we know, it
was written that way.  Best of all would be to get clarifications of
what type each firmware is, but I doubt that's easy in all cases.

However, if we strongly suspect that we don't have a valid permission
to modify, distribute and so on, run a mile.

> Since i am seen as not trusthy to analyze such problems, i think to deblock
> this situation, it would be best to have a statement from debian-legal to back
> those claims (or to claim i am wrong in the above). 

debian-legal is a mailing list.  It is not easy for it to make a
statement itself.

Hope that helps,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
Please follow http://www.uk.debian.org/MailingLists/#codeofconduct

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