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Old 03-19-2009, 06:05 PM
John Wright
 
Default Bug#509646: bnx2x firmware licensing

Hi Eilon,

In bnx2x_init_values.h, there appear to be several sourceless firmware
blobs (init_data_*, *_int_table_data_*, and arguably init_ops). So far,
Debian has removed this file from our distribution of linux-2.6 and
disabled the driver. In order to allow Debian users to use bnx2x, I
have written a patch [1] to the driver to use request_firmware (using
the result of a "firmware cutter" here [2]), but the current licensing
is ambiguous. (The whole bnx2x driver seems to be licensed under the
GPL, but it has no exception for the sourceless parts, which can't be
covered by the GPL. In any case, it doesn't give us the right to
redistribute the contents of bnx2x_init_values.h in binary-equivalent
form.)

Can you clarify the license for us? For example, the bnx2_fw.h header
has the following notice:

/* bnx2_fw.h: Broadcom NX2 network driver.
*
* Copyright (c) 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Broadcom Corporation
*
* This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
* it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
* the Free Software Foundation, except as noted below.
*
* This file contains firmware data derived from proprietary unpublished
* source code, Copyright (c) 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 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.
*/

Thanks for your time!

[1]: http://bugs.debian.org/509647
[2]: http://bugs.debian.org/509646

--
John Wright <jsw@debian.org>



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Old 03-19-2009, 09:40 PM
Ben Hutchings
 
Default Bug#509646: bnx2x firmware licensing

On Thu, 2009-03-19 at 13:05 -0600, John Wright wrote:
> Hi Eilon,
>
> In bnx2x_init_values.h, there appear to be several sourceless firmware
> blobs (init_data_*, *_int_table_data_*, and arguably init_ops).
[...]

init_ops looks like a plausible "preferred form for modification" to me.
It's not very meaningful without reference to the Programmers' Reference
Manual, but then neither is most of the other hardware setup code in the
driver.

Regarding the other tables, I'll reiterate John's request. Unless you
can make a good case that these really are the preferred form for
modification, or apply a licence that does not require source, then
Debian can't distribute them at all.

Ben.
 
Old 03-22-2009, 10:17 AM
"Eilon Greenstein"
 
Default Bug#509646: bnx2x firmware licensing

Hi John,

You are right - I'm adding a licensing to bnx2x_init_values.h similar to the bnx2 license that you quoted. However, I'm not sure if now is a good time to send such a patch to netdev for net-2.6 so I'm sending it to net-next - please let me know if this is not enough.

Regards,
Eilon





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