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

Re: [AMENDMENT]: Release Etch now, with source-less but legal and freely licensed firmware

Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 27, 2006 at 12:36:56PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>> |  4. We give priority to the timely release of Etch over sorting every
>> |     bit out; for this reason, we will treat removal of sourceless
>> |     firmware as a best-effort process, and deliver firmware in udebs as
>> |     long as it is necessary for installation (like all udebs), and
>> |     firmware included in the kernel itself as part of Debian Etch,
>> |     as long as we are legally allowed to do so, and the firmware is
>> |     distributed upstream under a license that complies with the DFSG. 
>> `----
> Manoj, i want a clarification of what this actually means for :
>   1) firmware like the tg3 one, which is licenced under a 'permision to
>   distribute under an hexa dump or equivalent format' but no further
>   modification rights. This is clearly DFSG non-free, so tg3 has to go.

Here, the upstream license seems to be non-free.

>   2) firmware under the GPL, but with missing source. The GPL is free, but
>   the absence of source code for the firmware blobs makes it a violation of
>   the GPL, and thus undistributable.

Here, the upstream license is "GPL", which complies with the DFSG, and
the driver is therefore included if we are "legally allowed to do so".
The GPL *does* grant us the right to distribute binaries without source.
It also requires us to do things we cannot factually do (namely, provide
the source in the same place, or upon request with written offer etc.).
But I understood the phrasing of Manojs proposal that it doesn't matter
whether we can actually fulfill all requirements, as long as we can

However, this interpretation of "distributable" is in contrast to the
established interpretation for sourceless stuff in Debian.  It would
therefore mean to switch from "distributable is where nobody can sue us
with some hope to win" to "distributable where there's nobody who's
going to sue us".  I guess the wording of the amendment needs further
clarification, in particular because IMO this switching should only be
done for this particular case (and limited time), not generally.

>   3) firmware under a BSDish licence, but without source. The BSD is a free
>   licence, but i question the freeness of binaries distributed under the BSD
>   without source code.

Of course, they are non-free.  But there's no doubt that we are legally
allowed to distribute them, and that they are "distributed upstream
under a license that complies with the DFSG".  Hence they can be
included if this proposal passes.

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

Reply to: