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Re: kernel firmwares: GR proposal

On Thu, Aug 31, 2006 at 12:48:35AM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> Sven Luther wrote:
> > Yeah, that is something which is needed. We need someone to go over
> > larry's list, which i have copiedto the debian wiki, and find out who the
> > copyright holder of those problematic firmwares are, and then we can
> > contact them, taking the broadcom original letter i wrote as a sample.
> How optimistic you are.  :-)  After four or five attempts to find a contact
> address at Broadcom which would reply, I gave up; I'm glad someone else 
> found one eventually.

Actually, it was quite easy, i just wrote the linux driver support page, and
got a reply, it was fully CCed to debian-kernel, so you can look how i did it.

The reply was quite fast, altough the driver folk needed some time to escalate
it to the right people, and then find their legal team reply, it took a couple
of month or so. Compare that to all those who where shouting that it was
stupid, only lost time, and that broadcom, with their anti-linux stance would
never reply and stuff, so i have reasons to be quite optimistic.

The arsenic case was more problematic, since the copyright seems to have
landed at broadcom too, but they don't care since they don't sell it anymore,
and they probably are not even aware of the fact that they are actually
copyright holders.

I had a similar problem with some ocaml library, which was developed together
byt the ocaml team and the digital labs, which ended up at HP, and even asking
bdale about it, did not help free that code, which is now lost forever and
upstream reimplemented it. I think the quote from bdale was "i think i know in
which set of boxes it may possibly be".

> I think that throwing Debian's name around with 'offical' status may
> be helpful to get responses from some of these companies; I didn't do that,
> since I couldn't!

Well, assuredly, but i think that another difference may have been the more
reasonable and well though-out mail with some legal analysis, and the fact
that what we demanded was quite easy for them to do. Also, the timeline was
maybe one of more maturity and sensibility on this subject, and we had a rather
huge thread on LKML when it happened. From your past posts on the subject, i
believe that maybe the wordings you chose where not the best ones, but as i
have not seen said mails ...


Sven Luther

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