[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Proposal: The DFSG do not require source code for data, including firmware

On Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 08:30:31PM +0200, Kurt Roeckx wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 22, 2006 at 03:18:04PM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > 
> > THE DEBIAN PROJECT therefore,
> > 
> >         1. reaffirms its dedication to providing a 100% free system to our
> > users according to our Social Contract and the DFSG; and
> > 
> >         2. encourages authors of all works to make those works available not
> > only under licenses that permit modification, but also in forms that make
> > such modifications practical; and
> > 
> >         3. supports the decision of the Release Team to require works such as
> > images, video, and fonts to be licensed in compliance with the DFSG without
> > requiring source code for these works under DFSG #2; and
> > 
> >         4. determines that for the purposes of DFSG #2, device firmware
> > shall also not be considered a program.

> I'm a little confused as to what this means exactly.

> Point 2 seems to say that we consider "source" to be such a form of the
> work that modifications are practical, but without actually saying
> anything.  However, I think such a definition of source would be a good
> thing.

> But this point really doesn't say much about Debian, it just says we
> encourage others to do something.  So I don't see why this belongs in
> the GR in the first place.

A position statement tells the wider community, not just Debian's own
developers, Debian's views on a subject.  "Don't worry about source code for
firmware, no one cares about it" is not a message I want to send.  This
clause states that we *do* care about source code for firmware:  we just
don't consider it worth the trade-offs to *require* such source code as a
condition of inclusion in Debian.

> Point 3 then seems to go the other way around and say we don't need
> sources for of few types of works.  My main problem with this is that
> still a little vague about which types of works don't require source.

What problems do you consider this vagueness to cause?  What changes would
you suggest to make this less vague?

> I guess point 4 is saying the firmware should be considered the same as
> the other works in point 3 and the source isn't needed for firmware.


> However, it doesn't say anything about other points of the DFSG.

Nope, nor was it my intention that it do so.

> So we should still need a license that allows atleast derived works.


> And I don't see how we're going to make derived works of firmware without
> the source for it.

That seems to be orthogonal to the licensing question, though?

Anyway, the answer I had in mind was a hex editor or a decompiler.  If the
firmware in question *is* code, and we know what the chip in question is
that the code is running on, both options seem within the realm of
plausibility to me.  No, of course they're not the *ideal* means of editing
such a work, but AFAIK most firmware is on the order of what programmers
used to program directly in assembly, so it's also not totally *insane* to
try to edit such a binary directly as it would be for most modern userspace
apps, for instance.)

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: