[Michael Poole] > For example, GRUB and Linux are both licensed under the GPL. Both > would be included with these retail systems and would be written to > locate and call functions within the BIOS; that is, GRUB and Linux > would be dynamically linked against the (presumably non-free) BIOS. It has long been a perception that the computer BIOS, like the kernel, provides an API across which a program can execute without considering the kernel a derived work of the userspace programs, or the BIOS a derived work of the kernel. The same is not believed to be true of shared libraries in a userspace application. I myself am not certain what the important distinction is between those two cases, but this is very well established GPL interpretation dogma. > Has it simply gone unnoticed by those who campaign so hard to kill > competition? Not unnoticed. The ever-present issue of non-free driver firmware will ensure that nobody ever forgets to consider cases involving software that doesn't run in userspace or kernel space. Debian obviously can't *distribute* non-free BIOS or driver firmware, but I don't think anyone has been arguing that Debian kernels can't *use* the BIOS and other firmware supplied to the system by someone other than Debian.
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