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Re: non-free firmware

> I have argued previously (on debian-legal and elsewhere) that for some types
> of works, such as icons, fonts, and documentation, "source code" is not
> important to the modifiability of a work in the same way that it is to
> programs.  There are many cases in which the original source form used by
> the author is *not* the preferred form of modification for the creation of
> new derivative works, and it seems to me that the DFSG silently acknowledges
> this reality by speaking about "programs" (not the ambiguous "software")
> directly in DFSG #2.  But of all the forms of software that we distribute
> which aren't normally considered "programs", firmware is certainly the most
> program-like.
> I believe the problem currently before us is, therefore, to decide whether
> we as a project consider firmware to be "programs" for the purposes of DFSG
> compliance.  I am disposed to accept that they are not, but I'm not
> comfortable making this decision on behalf of the project ex cathedra as an
> RM.  Instead, my plan had been to, over the next month or two, review the
> past discussions of this point, talk the issue over with various folks, and
> propose a GR that would clarify this interpretation of the DFSG where
> firmware is concerned.  If the "discussion" part is starting now, so much
> the better.

As far as firmware are concerned, firmware licenses tend to be
restrictive in various way, but usually they at least do not allow 
to distribute modified version. At least this was the case when I
investigated the Linux 2.4.25 kernel [1], so unless things have changed,
the proposed GR will have no effect on most firmwares. The actual
licensing terms of the 'relevant' 2.6 firmware need be investigated.

Bill. <ballombe@debian.org>

Imagine a large red swirl here.

[1] <http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/04/msg00074.html>:

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