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Re: Retailing

[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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