GPL violations threat is quite real
Posted Jun 5, 2008 6:57 UTC (Thu) by khim
Parent article: Moving the firmware out
Actually legal aspect is quite real. Translation of English to English of I refuse to let the driver get broken like that, it's staying working, and that means in-tree and linked into the driver is we have driver which contains GPLed software and non-GPLed software so closely intertwined that it's practically impossible to separate them - and THIS is clearly GPL violation. Here it explained quite well: The more that people claim it would be such a burden to split the firmware from their driver because they're so closely interrelated, the more they are arguing against the 'mere aggregation' defence, which was tenuous enough in the first place... and it's also the only defense for inclusion of said firmware in kernel in first place!
I do not believe tg3 is so closely intertwined with it's firmware blob that it's impossible to separate them but if it's actually the case - the whole thing should be ripped out. Firmware can be kept in tree for "convenience" but it's different then "necessity". There are only two choices:
1. Driver and it's firmware are separate works - and then we can talk about separate distribution. It can be practical or impractical (certainly Linux distributions DO distribute unrelated things in one blob - and it's convenien), but it's not matter of necessity.
2. Driver and firmware can not be practically separated - hopefully it's rare cases but it this case the only option is to remove driver from kernel. Firmware and all.
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