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Re: non-free firmware

On Mon, Jan 09, 2006 at 07:00:00PM +0100, Maximilian Attems wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 09, 2006 at 06:24:34PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> > On Mon, Jan 09, 2006 at 04:35:40PM +0100, maximilian attems wrote:
> > > On Sun, Jan 08, 2006 at 11:58:16PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> > > > On Sun, Jan 08, 2006 at 09:50:47PM +0100, Frederik Schueler wrote:
> > > > > Hallo,
> > > > > 
> > > > > On Sun, Jan 08, 2006 at 11:10:46AM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> > > > > > On Sun, Jan 08, 2006 at 10:04:45AM +0100, Andreas Barth wrote:
> > > > > > > Now, my question is: Is there still work open? If so, what? Or is the
> > > > > > > current removal of firmware enough, and we can relax on this topic? 
> > > > > 
> > > > > From my point of view, the situation currently looks like this:
> > > > > 
> > > > > 1. tg3 and qla2xxx driver status has been solved: upstream has
> > > > > relicensed the drivers - the sourcecode is licensed under the GPL, the 
> > > > > firmware data is freely distributable as an aggregate work. 
> > > > 
> > > > The firmware is still source-less, and it is not data, as it represents
> > > > microcode destined to be run on the controller it is uploaded to.
> > > 
> > > we all agree that a line needs to be drawn.
> > > The stripped firmwares have questionable licenses 
> > > and needs to be put in non-free.
> > 
> > the problem is that there are two  issues : 
> > 
> >   1) non-distributable modules, because the licence was messy.
> > 
> >   2) distributable modules with non-free firmware.
> > 
> > tg3 and qla2xxx used to be in the first class, and due to relicencing they now
> > are in the second class, that don't make them free by any stretch of the
> > imagination.
> the current stripping is chosen randomly by Xu.
> the stripped usb acenic drivers license is not that bad,
> it is distributable.

Can you please back those claims with some reality ? I believe that the
stripping has been done by Andres and some others a bit under a way ago, when
they wrote the prune-non-free script. 

> current fact is that the qlaxxx firmware is gpl,
> so on has all it's right in main.

It is GPL, except for the binary blob of firmware, as the two constitute
separate work, this is not a violation of the GPL. The exact licence, that
this one comes under, as pointed out by Frederik and Andres on irc is in
Documentation/scsi/LICENSE.qla2xxx :

  This program includes a device driver for Linux 2.6 that may be
  distributed with QLogic hardware specific firmware binary file.
  You may modify and redistribute the device driver code under the
  GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software
  Foundation (version 2 or a later version).

  You may redistribute the hardware specific firmware binary file
  under the following terms:

        1. Redistribution of source code (only if applicable),
           must retain the above copyright notice, this list of
           conditions and the following disclaimer.

        2. Redistribution in binary form must reproduce the above
           copyright notice, this list of conditions and the
           following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other
           materials provided with the distribution.

        3. The name of QLogic Corporation may not be used to
           endorse or promote products derived from this software
           without specific prior written permission

Which unless someone released a heavily modified GPL licence silently in out
back, very very far from the GPL itself. Notice how this licence speaks of
source code of the firmware, and that if you where to have had a copy of it,
you are bound under the same licence, and it clearly mentions redistribution
as binary only, as opposed to with source.

So, now that the facts are there, i would think you would be very very
hardpressed to actually claim this to be DFSG free, don't you think ?

> > so, right now, if we are true to ourselves and follow the GR, we would have to
> > put tg3 and qla2xxx modules in non-free, and totally remove the messed up
> > licenced modules. If we don't want to do that, the most honest way to handle
> > it is to get another GR out the door,explaining that this is not easily
> > possible or convenient at this time, and asking for an explicit exception for
> > kernel firmware. I would second such a GR.
> that's one outcome if one follows you radical thoughts.

Ah, no ? I mean, i would be happy with saying that despit this being non-free,
it still make sense to keep it in main, but i doubt even the most lenient
people would claim the above licence is DFSG free.

> nobody else seem to back your non-free position,

Well, who is backing your position ? I guess they are only bored by this topic
or haven't come to write on this one yet.

> so i'm far from certain that it's the one shared by the d-k team.

Well, shall we have a vote ? 

> > > kernel.org is distributing all of them.
> > > i'm sure that a user expects a package called linux-image to contain
> > > tg3 for example.
> > 
> > Sure, but what has this to do with anything ?
> yes if you care about what you are distributing,
> you shouldn't stripp random usefull bits.
> none of our users appreciated the non-free linux packet that
> contained tg3 back then, or do you want the kernel image to depend
> on a non-free package?

What has that to do with the fact that the above licence is not DFGS-free ?
This is a fact we have to work with, and i think we and our users would be
better served if we looked at this problem and its possible solution with the
fact that this it is not DFSG-free and never will be rather than trying to
build something on a wrong fundation.

> > Also, distributing those from non-free, and having d-i seamlessly manage this,
> > is probably not such a problem for our users, and they can then chose to have
> > the non-free firmware or not. That is why we voted to keep non-free after all,
> > isn't it ?
> the opinion of the release manager didn't second your arguments.

Ok, let's hear about them here. Steve, Andreas, would you care to comment on
this ? CCing debian-release.


Sven Luther

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