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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 01:34:11PM -0700, Don Armstrong wrote:
> On Sun, 15 Oct 2006, Sven Luther wrote:
> > Well, we all know it is sourceless GPLed firmware, and we chose just
> > to say the contrary, because it is convenient to us.
> If we know[1] a work is a sourceless GPLed work, then we cannot
> distribute it *at* *all*. Doing otherwise is wholly inappropriate, GR
> or no GR, and opens up us and our mirror operators to a whole scope of
> liability that they should not be facing.

This is indeed true, but mitigated by the fact that everyone does the same,
and that more often than not the copyright holder are distributing it
themselves, thus they hardly can sue us (or win the following case) over it.

But the whole idea of this GR, was to let this whole issue pass, and ask the
copyright holders (if they can be found, difficult in some cases, like the
acenic one) to clarify their position and provide an explicit license,

The new proposal says exactly that :

  5. We further note that some of these firmware do not have individual license,
     and thus implicitly fall under the generic linux kernel GPL license.
     We will include these firmware in Debian Etch and review them after the
     release. Vendors of such firmware may wish to investigate the licensing
     terms, and make sure the GPL distribution conditions are respected,
     especially with regards to source availability.

the voted-upon resolution is less clear and precise about this, and will bring
more confusion than anything else.


Sven Luther

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