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

On Tue, Oct 03, 2006 at 11:28:36AM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> On Tue, 03 Oct 2006 14:09:50 +0200, Frank Küster <frank@debian.org> said: 
> > Hi, to me, and it seems other, too, Manoj's amendment seemed clear.
> > However, Sven Luther has pointed out some points that could in fact
> > be clearer, and has also suggested to take
> > http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/kernel/people/jurij/firmware-position-statement.txt?op=file&sc=1into
> > account.  I'll try to suggest some changes in wording to Manoj's
> > text that try to address these issues.
> > This is not a formal amemdment.  Rather, I'd like to openly discuss
> > the text.
>  >         The following is the full text of my Amendment
>  > ,----
>  > |  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
> +  |     bit out; for this reason, we will treat removal of non-free
>         This is a major concession. The proposal as it stands calls
>  for exceptions for sourceless firmware, not any non-free firmware
>  which we already have been pruning from the tree.
>         One of the concerns I have seen voiced are about BLOBs
>  distributed under the GPL, and some people have asserted that these
>  are undistributable.  This assertion is based on an unspoken
>  assumption that the BLOB is not the preferred form of modification,
>  hence the license is invalid, and thus can not be distributed.  But

See for what broadcom changed his tg3 licence, which was precedingly GPL :

 * Firmware is:
 *      Derived from proprietary unpublished source code,
 *      Copyright (C) 2000-2003 Broadcom Corporation.
 *      Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of this firmware
 *      data in hexadecimal or equivalent format, provided this copyright
 *      notice is accompanying it.

See the part about "proprietary unpublished source code". Yet many argued back
then that this firmware was only data.

This is naturally not the case always, but there is a strong possibility that
those are, and it is always better to keep this said.

>  it is, in fact, based on that assumption; but however compelling the
>  arguments behind the assumption are, we don't know for sure. This

Well, we could say the same for any other bit of binary-only executable out


Sven Luther

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