[linux-elitists] Fwd: Copyright infringement in linux/drivers/usb/serial/keyspan*fw.h

Aaron Lehmann aaronl@vitelus.com
Tue Apr 24 01:27:49 PDT 2001

On Tue, Apr 24, 2001 at 09:05:41AM +0100, Paul J Collins wrote:
> The microcode that is present in most modern microprocessors should be
> pulled too.  Oh, and the firmware on your hard drives.  Don't forget
> your BIOS.  Oh, there's one on your video card, too.  Hey, look!
> There's a BIOS on my SCSI card!  I can't use *any* of this hardware!


You can stop trying to be ironic now and realize that Debian does
take this seriously. I remember when someone wanted to package an x86
virtualizer which included a small non-free VGA BIOS. They couldn't
package it because of this.

Why do you think projects like OpenBIOS exist? We don't _like_
hardware-level firmware, but put up with it on the road to a more free
system. Remember, GNU was developed under proprietary UNIX.

The issue here is more of seperating the pure from the impure. If
Linux includes non-free firmware, it makes the ability of Debian to
redistribute Linux in its original form much more encumbered. I notice
that the license on that firmware includes clauses against
redistribution. Do you see that it may not be even legal for Debian to
distribute Linux tarballs with this code in it?

Debian doesn't distribute hardware, so they have the luxury of
focusing on free software. Harsh realities of the hardware world will
not dilute this goal.

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