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

On Tue, Oct 17, 2006 at 07:07:00PM -0700, Don Armstrong wrote:
> On Tue, 17 Oct 2006, Roberto C. Sanchez wrote:
> > So what? Distributing GPL works *with* sources is also not clear of
> > legal liability.
> Those liabilities occur in either case, so they're not particularly
> interesting to discuss. Doing something that is against the letter and
> spirit of a software license is just not a position that we should put
> ourselves in.
But they are interesting.  The original argument was about sourceless
firmware.  Consider these two cases:

1. distributing firmware without corresponding sources
2. distributing packages and source code to a patented implementation of

In case 1, it depends on whether or not you consider (firmware ==
software) to be true.  If yes, then it is against the letter and the
spirit of the GPL.  That may require an actual court case to figure out.
If no, it is just against the spirit, but still legal.  In case 2, there
is no disputing that it is illegal, if software patents are indeed legal
in $jurisdiction.  Now, in such a case, it is agianst the spirit of the
GPL, while still in complete compliance with the letter of the GPL and
generally still illegal.



Roberto C. Sanchez

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