User: Password:
|
|
Subscribe / Log in / New account

We were in fact talking past each other

We were in fact talking past each other

Posted Jun 6, 2008 0:50 UTC (Fri) by dwmw2 (subscriber, #2063)
In reply to: We were in fact talking past each other by PaulMcKenney
Parent article: Moving the firmware out

OK, we were talking past each other. I was responding to case 1 and 2 in your original posting, ...
Khim's original posting, not mine?
...pointing out that bugs, features, and performance issues might cause two independent works to nevertheless be related -- not in the GPL/copyright derived-works sense, but rather in the sense that not all possible pairs of versions of the two works could be expected to work together correctly.
True, except where you say "not in the GPL sense". The GPL has implications which go further than just derived works -- it explicitly extends to sections of a combined work which, when distributed separately, would be considered independent and separate works in themselves.

The only thing that lets you distribute that combination of non-GPL'd and GPL'd stuff is if it's "mere aggregation on a volume of a storage or distribution medium", like two programs which both happen to be on that shareware CD I mentioned earlier.

The existence of a close relationship such as the one you hypothesise would tend to indicate that this is not "mere aggregation on a volume of a storage or distribution medium". And that, I think, is what Khim was talking about. It's certainly what I was talking about in the post he quotes.


(Log in to post comments)

We were in fact talking past each other

Posted Jun 6, 2008 14:35 UTC (Fri) by PaulMcKenney (subscriber, #9624) [Link]

You are correct, I was indeed responding to khim's original comment.

And please note I did -not- say "not in the GPL sense", but rather "not in the GPL/copyright
derived-works sense".  The legal complexities and uncertainties alluded to by your response to
your modified version of my statement is indeed one reason why I don't have an opinion on how
drivers and firmware blobs should be distributed.

The main point I am trying to make -- which you appear to agree with -- is that there is good
and sufficient motivation to provide users with some mechanism that automatically matches up
the Linux-kernel driver with the corresponding device firmware.  This is I believe that point
that Dave Miller was getting at in the original article.

And -of- -course- we must do this automatic matching in a way that honors the GPL and other
relevant licenses and laws.  But we must do the automatic matching of driver and firmware, one
way or another.

Sincerely, Paul E. McKenney (my opinions, not those of my employer)

We were in fact talking past each other

Posted Jun 6, 2008 14:49 UTC (Fri) by dwmw2 (subscriber, #2063) [Link]

The main point I am trying to make -- which you appear to agree with -- is that there is good and sufficient motivation to provide users with some mechanism that automatically matches up the Linux-kernel driver with the corresponding device firmware. This is I believe that point that Dave Miller was getting at in the original article.
It's not particularly hard to do this -- and we get it right in many situations already, where the firmware is either in ROM/Flash or extracted from a Windows or other driver -- and thus we have to cope with the various versions we might encounter. You work out what version of the firmware you have, and you cope accordingly.

Alternatively, for firmware which can be shipped in the linux-firmware tree, we can actually ship both old and new versions simultaneously by appending a version number to the filename (think of it a bit like an soname in libraries). That makes it easier, because older kernels would continue to request and use the older firmware blobs.

I don't think it's a particularly serious concern. The firmware blobs just don't change that often -- they're a black box which we can't tweak for ourselves, and if we're really lucky the manufacturer might throw and improved version over the wall occasionally, but it isn't anywhere near as frequent as we'd like.

We were in fact talking past each other

Posted Jun 6, 2008 18:30 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

If we're really lucky the firmware is generated at build time from the 
GPLed source :) I doubt you're moving the sym53c8xx firmware; it's not a 
blob (it has actual comments and everything).

We were in fact talking past each other

Posted Jun 6, 2008 18:41 UTC (Fri) by PaulMcKenney (subscriber, #9624) [Link]

That is certainly the best case -- very nice when it works out this way!


Copyright © 2018, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds