[Ksummit-2008-discuss] RFC: Moving firmware blobs out of the kernel.

Pavel Machek pavel at ucw.cz
Sun Jun 1 09:17:16 PDT 2008


> The firmware is an independent and separate work in itself. Section 2 of
> the GPL talks about such sections of the work, explicitly. The only way
> to excuse what we're doing at the moment is to call it 'mere
> aggregation' -- an exception which was intended to handle stuff like the
> 'freeware' CDs on the covers of magazines, distributing a bunch of
> unrelated software. Not a coherent work combining software from
> different sources into a single entity which works closely together as
> one, and where one part is useless without the other.

Wait a moment, haven't you just described linux distribution?

I mean, if aggregation clause does not work for firmware in kernel,
why would it work for packages in distro?

(Actually, seeing some distro EULAs, I wished GPL infected whole
distro so that I'd not have to read the stupid EULA.)

> There are people who own copyright on firmware who refuse to put it into
> the Linux source tree, because their lawyers don't believe the 'mere
> aggregation' line, and believe that including it in the kernel source in
> any form would require them to license it under the GPL.

They can release the firmware under BSD 3-clause, and we can include
it in kernel, then.... right? (Or into linux-firmware or into whatever
package that comes handy).

(english) http://www.livejournal.com/~pavelmachek
(cesky, pictures) http://atrey.karlin.mff.cuni.cz/~pavel/picture/horses/blog.html

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