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

On Tue, Oct 03, 2006 at 07:20:35PM +0200, Sven Luther wrote:
> Anthony, this is bullshit. 

Sven, if the GPL prohibits us from distributing the code, we (which is
to say ftpmaster) won't distribute it. There's no way of phrasing a GR
to change that.

I don't believe the GPL does prohibit us from distributing that firmware.
I'm not interested in going into the legal justifications for that belief
just for the sake of argument, and I'm only saying what I am because I
believe that without making it clear that we are trying to comply with
the license in good faith, we would be asking for both a lawsuit and
punitive damages.

> These are no claims, but the plain GPL. All right
> to distribution under the GPL are lost if you don't comply with the GPL,

Which is precisely why we aren't going to deliberately not comply with
the GPL, no matter what you suggest.

I believe that distributing firmware written in chunks of hex is in
compliance with the GPL, and repetition of your arguments isn't going
to change that belief.

>   We recognize that there are a number of firmwares in the kernel who are
>   sourceless and implicitly under the GPL. We believe these are mistakes on
>   the copyright holder part, who didn't understand the full measure of what
>   they where doing in releasing those firmwares in this fashion. We will work
>   with those vendors to either provide the source of those GPLed firmwares,
>   clarify their licencing, as was done with broadcom and qlogic, or give us a
>   statement indicating these are just plain register dumps.

Apart from grammatical/stylistic issues ("firmware" is plural already;
it's not "implicitly" under the GPL, blahblah) I have no problems with
that. It's a different statement to "We believe this violates the GPL,
but we're going to do it anyway", though.

I don't personally think that statement needs to be part of a GR though;
I think the kernel team can say that on their own with equal authority,
and probably more effectiveness (since unlike 90% of the project, you're
actually deeply familiar with kernel issues...).

> Well, it is a violation of the implicit GPL licence of this file, and any
> amount of hiding your head in the sand will not change that plain fact.

I'm not convinced it's even a violation of the spirit of the GPL really;
but it's certainly a violation of the spirit of the DFSG, and hence
something we should keep working on to fix.


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