David Woodhouse wrote:
>> Alex now says it isn't good enough, and is actually counter-productive.
> If I get Alex correctly he is saying that, to his goal, which is 100% Free
> software everywhere (including in his toothbrush), this is counterproductive,
> as it may make it easier to distribute binary firmware along with the kernel,
> as it now could be put in a seperate tarbal removing GPL worries etc.
If it's a GPL violation to ship the non-GPL'd firmware in the source
tarball, it's also a GPL violation to distribute it as part of a
I don't recall ever seeing tarballs mentioned in copyright laws. Tar is
just a way of aggregating files that may not have any other relationship.
That's nothing special -- it's just the same as we should
vigilant for someone slipping non-GPL'd _code_ into the kernel.
Should we just give up, just because people slip up occasionally?
There has never been an issue with aggregating GPL and non-GPL items for
distribution - and there would be no legal basis for such a restriction.
The question is whether the parts are derivative works. If you could
establish that the firmware code is derived from GPL'd code (which seems
pretty unlikely if the same firmware would be used with other OS's),
then the restriction against distribution under other terms would apply.