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ms-sys contains MBRs which are copyrighted by Microsoft

severity 425943 serious
retitle 425943 ms-sys contains MBRs which are copyrighted by Microsoft

ms-sys contains verbatim copies of the master boot records of windows
2000 and windows 95B et al. While it would be valid to reimplement an
MBR in such a way that it was functionally similar to an MBR that
boots these MS operating systems, the length and expressive content of
the MBR makes it rather likely that it is copyrightable, and that we
have not been granted the right to distribute, nor is the assembly in
question licensed in accordance with the DFSG (nor is the assembly
even actually present, which falls afoul of DFSG §2).

Finally, debian/copyright does not properly discuss this problem at
all, nor does it mention the copyrights on syslinux's mbr or any of
the other mbrs which are present.

Possible solutions to the problem are:

1) Re-implement any MBRs for which the source/copyright is not

2) Get permission to distribute and modify the MBR from MS and
distribute a disassembled and commented version; if distribution only,
move ms-sys to non-free.

3) Remove ms-sys from the archive

I strongly suggest if #1 or #2 doesn't occur relatively rapidly that
#3 is taken as an interim measure until it can be rectified.

Don Armstrong

I shall require that [a scientific system's] logical form shall be
such that it can be singled out, by means of emperical tests, in a
negative sense: it must be possible for an emperical scientific system
to be refuted by experience.
 -- Sir Karl Popper _Logic of Scientific Discovery_ §6

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

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