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The trouble with firmware

The trouble with firmware

Posted Jan 6, 2011 7:32 UTC (Thu) by james (subscriber, #1325)
Parent article: The trouble with firmware

While his scenarios are a little bit of a stretch—why distribute a project that contains these problematic pieces?
Fedora insists that its source RPMs not contain any "problematic pieces" (e.g. patent-afflicted code): not compiling them into the binary or patching them out of the source isn't good enough.

For example, Damien Miller of OpenSSH was rather annoyed six years ago to find that Fedora was not building OpenSSH from standard OpenSSH tarballs.

It turned out that Red Hat had chosen not to ship the ACSS code in OpenSSH, since it was "believed to be compatible with" the CSS DRM in DVDs, and both possession and distribution of CSS-compatible code is illegal under many laws, including the American DMCA.

So if Fedora were to switch to downloading sources from Git at build-time, rather than storing them in the SRPM, they would need something like this.


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The trouble with firmware

Posted Jan 6, 2011 16:20 UTC (Thu) by joey (subscriber, #328) [Link]

So does Debian. And both Debian and Fedora have solid legal reasons to require this. For example, CDs of source need to be sellable, which is difficult to do if the source contains non-free stuff. Debian is forced to modify roughly 1 out of every 50 source packages due to such issues.

Moreover I have developed the "3.0 (git)" source package format for Debian which uses git bundles. Of course non-free bits in git history makes using that more problematic, and the best workaround available at present is to bundle only a shallow clone of the repository that omits the non-free historical bits.

So any technical progress in this area could really be valuable, no matter what your opinion of the firmware file obfuscation part.

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