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Re: [PROPOSAL] Final consensual proposal for the problematic firmware issue in the linux kernel sources.

On Sun, Oct 15, 2006 at 04:05:57PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>         Can you spell out for us which kernel modules, in the opinion
>  of the kernel team, are certainly sourceless GPL stuff? Please make
>  sure you have the official opinion of the kernel team, and that you
>  are saying that these modules do contain sourceless GPL'd material.

The complete list at :


Include code which Larry stated where unlikely to be the actual form of
modification. I think he even said something along the lines of "no sane coder
would write such directly in hex". 

There are some which are big enough that it would not be practical to write
them directly in hex, so there is little doubt about the outcome.

Furthermore, i want to reminid you about the broadcom/tg3 precedent, for such
a case which was previously sourceless GPL, and now, after clarification from
the copyright holder after *OUR* prompting, shows :

 * 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 *      Derived from proprietary unpublished source code,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.
Notice how it says : "Derived from proprietary unpublished source code".

This precedent and anlysis shows that a huge portion of the 40+ or so affected
firmwares are most probably sourceless GPL files, and thus illegal to
distribute. See also various hints concerning variables and defines with CODE
in their name, or UCODE or variants thereof.

So, you want an official statement of the kernel team ? What about :


Which says : 

  2. Sourceless binary blobs distributed under GPL.

   This situation has been interpreted as a violation of the terms of GPL, which
   requires the distribution to be accompanied by the source code. Removal of
   firmware in this category will cause effective removal of a large number of
   important drivers, resulting in a severe negative impact on our users.

No direct list is given here, but again this was based on larry's list.

In any case, i will let others reply to this, as it is clear you won't accept
my word for this, and it is past time others of the kernel team got involved
in this again.


Sven Luther

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