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-   -   Requirements for inclusion in firmware-linux-nonfree (http://www.linux-archive.org/debian-kernel/341008-requirements-inclusion-firmware-linux-nonfree.html)

Ben Hutchings 03-13-2010 12:09 PM

Requirements for inclusion in firmware-linux-nonfree
 
On Sat, 2010-03-13 at 12:27 +0100, Bjørn Mork wrote:
> This is probably answered somewhere, but I just can't find it right now:
> what are the actual requirements for including a firmware which is
> distributed from kernel.org in the Debian package firmware-linux-nonfree?

It must be clearly legal to distribute in a separate package from the
kernel.

> The reason I ask is because I was a bit surprised to find that my
> edgeport usb serial adapter stopped working after upgrading from
> 2.6.26-2 to 2.6.32-3. I knew the firmware had been moved outside the
> driver and into the firmware/ directory of the upstream kernel source,
> so I thought that installing firmware-linux-nonfree would solve this.
> I then found bug #548745 and the question arised. Why can't Debian
> distribute something that is distributed from kernel.org, not even in
> non-free?

Because people were sloppy about licencing when they added firmware to
the kernel in the first place. In many cases the only stated licence is
GPLv2, which means we are not allowed to distribute the firmware without
also distributing its source. (This is unlikely to have been the intent
of the copyright holder, but that doesn't mean we can assume some other
licence.) In other cases the licence says the firmware can only be
distributed along with the kernel, but Debian has decided that non-free
software must be distributed separately.

In some cases I have tried to contact the copyright holders and request
a more appropriate licence. Occasionally this has worked.

> Is that restriction really gaining anyone?
>
> Well, not really a problem to me. I can get the firmware from the
> upstream kernel source. But I assume other users may have more problems
> with this. And I believe that such self-imposed unnecessary
> restrictions are only causing harm to Debian.

Instead of complaining about a decision which was taken by the project
several years ago, perhaps you could talk to Edgeport about fixing the
licence (bug #548745).

Ben.

--
Ben Hutchings
It's easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.

Bjørn Mork 03-13-2010 08:02 PM

Requirements for inclusion in firmware-linux-nonfree
 
Ben Hutchings <ben@decadent.org.uk> writes:

> Instead of complaining about a decision which was taken by the project
> several years ago, perhaps you could talk to Edgeport about fixing the
> licence (bug #548745).

You're of course perfectly right. Sorry about the rant. I've opened a
support case with Digi International Inc., who have taken over the
Edgeport product line. I don't have much hope since the product is
quite old, but it can't hurt to let them know that this problem exists.
At least it gives them the opportunity to get some Linux community
goodwill for free (assuming that relicensing won't cost them a dime).


Bjørn


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