[Fedora-packaging] Firmware packaging

Ralf Corsepius rc040203 at freenet.de
Tue Feb 13 06:15:17 UTC 2007

On Mon, 2007-02-12 at 20:52 -0500, Bill Nottingham wrote:
> We did some discussion at the board meeting last week about firmware images,
> such as that used for ipw2200. The decision was made that we're OK with shipping
> these firmware images based on the guidelines currently in the packaging
> guidelines:

> However, these packages will not be (in many cases) fully open source - while
> they're distributable, the licenses do not permit modification, reverse
> engineering, etc. So we want to make sure that these packages are easily
> queryable/findable.
> Proposal:
> 1) Firmware packages are given the Group: tag of System Environment/Kernel
>    (unless we want to make up a new 'Firmware' tag)
> 2) The License tag for any firmware that disallows modification should
>    be set to:
> "Redistributable firmware, no modification permitted"
> Comments?
-1, for several reasons:

1. Generally speaking, the "no modifications" goes too far for my taste
and is in conflict with Fedora's objectives.

 We should stick with "shipping/redistributing binaries (prebuilt
binaries) is allowed, provided they are Open-Source (source-code
available and modifiable)".

2. "no-mods-allowed" firmware is a controversial corner case wrt.
licensing: Is a GPL'ed kernel-module using a "no-mods-allowed" firmware
image, legal? "Under which kind of usages" is this legal and when not?

3. The definition of firmware in the FPG is weak.  This had been
discussed several times before, but IIRC, so far, nobody has been able
to come up with a better one (Where does "firmware" end and other
"general binary data" start, why should firmware be a special exception
from the rules being applied to binaries elsewhere?)


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