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Re: Proposal - Defer discussion about SC and firmware until after the Etch release

On Mon, Oct 02, 2006 at 10:34:06PM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Sven Luther wrote:
> > On Mon, Sep 18, 2006 at 10:09:14AM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> >> I think you're wrong here, unless you're using an unusual definition
> >> of "distributable".  The usual definition used by debian-legal is "We have
> >> explicit legal permission to distribute it."  If you were right, we wouldn't 
> >> have 46 undistributable files in Debian's Linux kernel packages today.
> >>
> >> Should Debian release with those files (again)?  This is a very, very
> >> important question.  Currently Debian is on track to release with 46
> >> undistributable files.
> > 
> > Indeed, but then, there are few issues to consider about this :
> Absolutely, these are things which should be considered.
> >   - in some cases, like the acenic driver, the original copyright hholder as
> >     well as the current copyright information is lost forever in some box
> >     during one of the mergers. Likelihood of someone actually showing up and
> >     saying this code belongs to them, and they can clarify the licencing, or
> >     sue us, is very very small.
> Yep.  This is frankly the situation with a lot of "abandonware".
> I'd love to distribute "Executive Suite", but who knows what happened to
> Grey Flannel Fun?
> Should Debian distribute abandonware?  If so, which abandonware?  Should
> the Linux kernel be held to laxer standards than everything else?

The nice thing about the acenic firmware is that there is actually source code
available, but the non-DFSG freeness comes from it "being distributable only
with the acenic driver", if i remember well.

> >   - in other cases, the original author is distibuting this sourceless
> >     material themselves under the GPL, clearly a mistake or omission, which
> >     they would be happy to fix, as the broadcom and qlogic case have shown.
> Yes.  In this case, we have to actually track them down and fix it,
> which is incredibly tedious.  But I agree that in this case we can
> usually assume that they *will* fix it.  But how *long* do we give
> them to fix it before we conclude that we really haven't gotten it
> fixed and we should remove the software to be legally safe?  A month?
> Five years?

Well, when i contacted broadcom over the tg3 case, there was a reply, and when
me and Andres followed up on it, it took a couple of month or so.

The resulting firmware is still non-free, but at least it is distributable


Sven Luther

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