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

On Thu, 28 Sep 2006 11:45:54 +0200, Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> said: 

> On Wed, Sep 27, 2006 at 12:36:56PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>> ,---- | 1. We affirm that our Priorities are our users and the free
>> software | community (Social Contract #4); | 2. We acknowledge that
>> there is a lot of progress in the kernel | firmware issue; however,
>> it is not yet finally sorted out; | 3. We assure the community that
>> there will be no regressions in | the progress made for freedom in
>> the kernel distributed by | Debian relative to the Sarge release in
>> Etch | 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.

        I am not familiar with the license here, but if what you state
 is correct, then yes, anything under a non-ZDFSG compliant license
 has to go. If I understand correctly, there is some confusion over
 the actual license the firmware ships under, some one said it was the

>   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.

        I was very careful to state that shipped upstream under a
 compliant license -- which this case seems to meet. Arguable (and
 highly improbably), the firmware hex dump could be the preferred form
 of modification. I am suggesting we take licenses at face value for
 etch; and afterwards determine if _we_ can ship the firmware and meet
 the spirit of the DFSG and the GPL or not (since only upstream can
 actually sue us, legal paper tigers are not an factor).

>   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.

        If the firmware is not the source code itself, then this might
 fall foul of the  DFSG#2 (very probably the case).

        My resolution determines that while we may have licenses which
 are broken, and bits of the kernel that violate the "we want sources
 for all programs", we ship etch in violation of these things, and
 take care of cleaning up later, Not perfect, but lets us release a
 slightly imperfet kernel, allowing us to support users with hardware
 that needs non-free, and does not weaken the SC/DFSG.

It is when I struggle to be brief that I become obscure. Quintus
Horatius Flaccus (Horace)
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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