Fedora Freedom and linux-libre
dwmw2 at infradead.org
Wed Jun 18 16:02:00 UTC 2008
On Wed, 2008-06-18 at 10:26 -0400, max wrote:
> David Woodhouse wrote:
> > On Wed, 2008-06-18 at 09:07 -0400, max wrote:
> >> David Woodhouse wrote:
> >>> Along with the quotes from one of its authors, who also happens to be
> >>> the overall network driver maintainer for Linux, and has stated that
> >>> each driver and its firmware are 'intimately tied... pieces of a single,
> >>> cohesive whole'.
> So the driver and its firmware are indistinct from the whole? You cannot
> tell where the driver and firmware begin and end?
You can't easily tell them apart in the kernel image, no. It's a bit
easier in the driver source, of course.
And of course even if you _can_ still identify the separate sections,
that doesn't mean the GPL wouldn't apply to them. When the GPL talks
about the independent sections which it extends to cover, it actually
refers to them as "_identifiable_ sections of [the collective] work".
Merely being able to _identify_ the various parts isn't sufficient to
claim that they are being distributed 'as separate works'.
When you see a book of short stories, do you claim that it's not a
collective work just because you can tell where one ends and the next
> >> Why or how have they become "intimately tied"?
> > That's a question you'd have to direct to the author of that file, who
> > said that they were. He ought to know.
> You based your argument around something you haven't confirmed?
Not at all; it doesn't _have_ to be 'intimately tied' for the GPL to
apply to the whole work; my argument isn't at all based on the fact that
they are 'intimately tied'.
I think it's fairly obvious that what we're distributing is a single
cohesive whole which combines both GPL'd kernel code and the firmware.
The argument that they are actually being distributed "as separate
works" is fairly insane, and the claim that it is "mere aggregation on a
volume of a storage or distribution medium" is also extremely
To call it 'intimately tied' is an even stronger assertion, and I was
merely pointing out that that's the publicly stated opinion of an expert
in the field (of these drivers), who has actually _created_ a number of
these combined works of driver+firmware. The original copy is here:
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