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Re: are GPLed sourceless firmwares legal to distribute ?

On 10/5/06, Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> wrote:
On Thu, Oct 05, 2006 at 02:57:33PM +0300, Markus Laire wrote:
> Hopefully (but I doubt this) someone in Debian will get sued for this
> violation in Etch, to stop such a behaviour in the future.

You do realise we're going to voluntarily stop it immediately after
releasing etch anyway, right?

Well, actually, I don't.

I have read all recent (>= Sep 16) mails on debian-vote, and I'm
unsure about what the situation will be after Etch.

But for now I'm concerned about the current situation.

I can't really believe that the DPL or RMs would truly be so clueless
than to believe that either
1) these firmwares are the "preferred form of the work for making
modifications" mentioned in GNU GPL or
2) it's legal to distribute them without such a "preferred form"

So it seems to me that you are lying when saying that you believe this
to be legal. This would also mean that you are lying when saying that
Debian wouldn't do anything illegal.

If I am wrong in this, then it seems that Debian has completely failed
to select proper people to these important positions. If the DPL and
RMs don't know even the basics of what is legal and what is illegal
conserning the software, then how can Debian ever survive?

(And if I am right, then what future is there for a project where DPL
and RMs knowingly act illegally while claiming it to be legal.)

Of course I am NOT a lawyer. Still I am a programmer and I find it
unbelievable that such a blobs of "thousands of bytes of hex code"
wouldn't have any other source for them. Even clearer seems the
question of whether one can distribute binaries without the source
under GNU GPL because one of the *basic* ideas of GNU GPL is to give
the source to those who have the binary.

Markus Laire
Disclaimer: IANAL, IANADD

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