[Desktop_printing] PAPI for CUPS: Volunteers needed!

Giuseppe Ghibò ghibo at mandriva.com
Wed Jun 28 09:11:18 PDT 2006

Michael Sweet ha scritto:

> Giuseppe Ghibò wrote:
>> Henrique de Moraes Holschuh ha scritto:
>>> On Thu, 22 Jun 2006, Norm Jacobs wrote:
>>>> So, presumably CDDL will suffice.  I can look at re-targeting the
>>> CDDL is GPL-incompatible, at least according to the FSF and Debian.  
>>> (refer
>>> to http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html).  As parts of a CUPS
>>> system are GPL, it is probably a good idea to choose another license 
>>> that
>>> has no doubts on its GPL compatibility.
>> Sorry the OT, but what about all the drivers (including printer, scanners
>> and wireless) that works only if a binary firmware in the device memory
>> (firmware which is not free and which generally can't be even freely 
>> redistributed) is uploaded before.
> WRT uploading firmware to a device (i.e. the firmware is not executed
> by the driver), the GPL isn't an issue because the firmware is just
> more data that is sent to the device.  The same firmware file could
> be used on any platform you port the code to, and you don't need the
> firmware source to recompile the driver.  You *do* need to allow
> redistribution and modification of the firmware file, however, just
> as documentation or image files in a package can be distributed and
> modified.

Currently for most hw vendor providing a firmware (when it's provided
officially, as often it comes from a collection grabbed unofficially from 
windows binary drivers) you can't redistribute it (vendor says so), so certainly 
can't modify yourself (and of course redistribute modified copies), and often 
you have to answer to an EULA before downloading the firmware. If so otherwise a 
default firmware could be usually included into the GPL drivers itself (just 
converted to data), but I don't have yet seen this anywhere. So the real problem 
is not that the firmware is binary (otherwise we couldn't even include a PNG 
file in a package), but the problem about redistribution and modification which
generally is forbidden. Under this situation the GPL driver is not usable, and
I think this might be an issue (but would be fine to know your opinion about
this) for the incoming GPLv3, WDYT?

Why this generally doesn't happen? Problems about warranty? [e.g. I modify the 
firmware, damage the device and then ask for repairing under warranty?].

One might object that uploading a firmware is not far different than
having a device (e.g. a printer or a scanner) where the
firmware is in the EEPROM or not even modifiable. But sound different from point
of view of usage. Because in the latter case you don't need to a) 
download/upload any firmware, and b) AFAIK answer any EULA to use the device
(and the software it contains in his EEPROM).

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