This would, from my (non-lawyer) understanding, be correct. At least as I understand US law (other nations may be different), it would be impossible to force them to reveal sources, since you can't do that with someone else's code. However... It's entirely possible, even probable given enough time and the hair brained legal theories some come up with (the GPL is an anti-trust violation, riiiggghhttt, glad the Judge thought the same and threw out that case), that someone (say a competitor) claiming copyright interest in the kernel might decide to try to force the code out of these people based on it shipping with the kernel for so long. As I said above, according to my understanding and by US law at least, that wouldn't be possible. However, should someone get the hair-brained idea to try it, given the right circumstances (see SCO), it could drag out forever, costing the hardware company in question all sorts of money it would certainly rather be spending elsewhere. Not everyone has the resources of an IBM. Thus, while it shouldn't be a legal danger in the end, it's enough of an economic risk thru exposure to simple legal threat, even if ultimately unsuccessful, that I can easily see a company's accountants and lawyers combining to veto any permission to ship firmware with the kernel. But separate it into a non-GPL entangled tarball, and the legal threat gets much less. All that said, the threat is really the reverse, as explained by others, that a SCO could ultimately hold the kernel (at least current and past shipping and supported versions, and thus everyone using them) hostage, with things as-is, due to the "if you can't ship it and comply, you can't ship it" wording), not anyone doing any more than tying up a few legal resources up for awhile trying to get the code out of the firmware folks. Thus, while it may be a bit of an economic risk for the firmware folks, it's a SERIOUS risk for those depending on the kernel, all the more reason to get the separation done as expeditiously as possible. I'm glad someone's now attacking the issue, as it /is/ a danger, there are SCOs in the world, and as such, it needed addressed. Duncan
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