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    SubjectRe: Binary-only firmware covered by the GPL?
    Oh, man, it seems that I *must* repeat myself one more time, at least
    to see if I'm not in everyone's killfile :-)

    @ 30/03/2004 11:19 : wrote Pavel Machek :

    > Hi!
    >>> #include <hallo.h> * David Schwartz [Thu, Mar 25 2004,
    >>> 04:41:23PM]:
    >>>>> IMHO code that can be compiled would probably be the
    >>>>> preferred form of the work.
    >>>> You are seriously arguing that the obfuscated binary of the
    >>>> firmware is the preferred form of the firmware for the
    >>>> purpose of making modifications to it?!
    I don't know if that's what /he/ is arguing, but *I* am arguing that
    in the cases I've seen here and in debian-legal, we have the following
    circumstances (the qla2xxx/ql2100_fw.c canonical example):
    * the file in question (and its brothers and cousins) have the
    following structure IIRC:
    + GPL license comment-header
    + some includes?
    + the firmware in c-blob format or unsigned char fw[] = ....
    + nothing else.
    * as the file is clearly marked by the copyright holder as being
    _distributed under the terms of the GPL_ and no other format is given
    to modify the fw[], at least *legally* is MHO that any
    recipient/redistributor of the file _can_ and _must_ consider the file
    in *that* format as the preferred form for modification (pf4m) *and*,
    considering it the source code, follow the directions of the GPL in
    respect to modification and redistribution.
    * the /status quo/ obtained by observation of the previous item
    prevails _until somebody proves_ that the fw[] = {} is *not* the
    source code; this, usually, can be proven only by confession, i.e.,
    the original copyright holder *comes out and says:* "hmmm, this is not
    the source code". Notice that the copyright holder maintaining silence
    is _not_ confession.
    * in this case (copyright holder confesses it's not the source code)
    applied to the examples in casu, i.e., firmware, the kernel people
    cannot distribute the binary blob *inside the kernel tree*, but can do
    it separately _if the copyright holder grants a license_ to.
    * even so, Debian could not distribute it.

    >>> Yes, the driver authors PREFERS to make the changes on the C
    >>> source code, he never has to modify the firmware. Exactly what
    >>> the GPL requests, where is your problem?
    >> But the firmware didn't appear out of thin air - someone wrote it
    >> somehow. If that's using a hex editor or inside the C code
    >> doesn't matter, but most likely they used some other language
    >> like either C or assembly (no, not all firmware is written using
    >> assembly), and there are cases where some are in fact written
    >> using a hex editor but I can't remember any that has been for the
    >> last 30 or so years but I'm sure there has been cases where there
    >> hasn't been a working assembler.

    But there are cases, even if you don't know of them. And this is the
    case that has to be taken in account when we start *presuming* things,
    at least legally, IMHO.
    > If my code contains picture of human, do I have to provide his DNA,
    > too? Pavel
    > (runs away)

    best regards,M
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