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

On Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 12:01:38AM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 01:12:25AM +0100, Stephen Gran wrote:
> > I would like to see some language to the effect that we make the
> > exception for firmware only in the cases of data that use the moral
> > equivalent of the kernel load_firmware interface, so that it's clear we
> > aren't talking about the sort of completely non-free things like that
> > adsl driver with a userspace binary library or the drivers from
> > sangoma's site.
> First of all, I'm not asking for an exception; I'm asking the project to
> confirm whether "programs" should be understood to include firmware.  Only
> if the project votes this GR down would it be time to consider making
> exceptions (which would definitely require 3:1 majority), I think.  I would
> welcome any suggestions about how to make the language of the resolution
> clearer on this point.

I would be very interested to see examples of firmwares affected by this GR.

Sourceless firmwares tend to come with either no proper license
statement or a license that prohibit modification and/or limit distribution.

I consider a lack of licence or license prohibiting modification to be
much more problematic that a lack of source.

I had made research on the topic of binary blob in linux 2.4.18 in the
past and I don't remember seeing a single firmware with all of:

1) A detailed copyright notice. (Not just a blob put inside a GPL file
without any hint about how the blob was derivated and who actually wrote
2) A license that allows redistribution without source (i.e not the GPL)
3) A license that allows modification, redistribution and all of DFSG
4) No source available.

The conclusion is that the proposed GR would have had little effect on
linux 2.4.18.

In any cases, example of firmware affected by this GR would help the

Cheers, (Please CC me)
Bill. <ballombe@debian.org>

Imagine a large red swirl here. 

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