Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Nov 2010 22:24 UTC, submitted by koki
GNU, GPL, Open Source Now this is interesting. We see what is at its core a very valid concern, in practice not a problem to anyone, and, thanks to the tone of the press release, close to trolling. The Free Software Foundation Latin America is complaining about something that has been known for a while - there is some non-Free code stuck in the Linux kernel (mostly firmware). A valid issue of concern from an idealogical viewpoint, but sadly, the tone of the press release turns this valid concern into something close to trolling.
Thread beginning with comment 449358
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: Well
by raboof on Wed 10th Nov 2010 00:52 UTC in reply to "Well"
raboof
Member since:
2005-07-24

Still, I don't quite think having binary blobs in the kernel source tree is even an issue in the first place

For purists, it is: suppose I'm a purist and I write some code for the Linux Kernel (in the pre-binaryblobs era). Releasing the code under the GPL, I can rest assured my code will only be used in accordance with the GPL, and not be distributed bundled with evil proprietary code.

Now Linus decides to ignore the GPL and distribute *my* code, along with evil proprietary code! I didn't want that - that's why I released my code under the GPL - and Linus didn't ask for my permission.

(i'm not really a purist, and haven't contributed anything to the kernel apart from some bits of documentation, but this makes it easier to get the point across ;) ).

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Well
by WereCatf on Wed 10th Nov 2010 01:00 in reply to "RE: Well"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Now Linus decides to ignore the GPL and distribute *my* code, along with evil proprietary code! I didn't want that - that's why I released my code under the GPL - and Linus didn't ask for my permission.

First of all, the binary blobs are not part of the kernel itself in any way or form: they do not run in the kernel, they do not run on the CPU itself, and they are not needed for any part of the kernel itself to function.

The only time the kernel uses the firmware blobs in any way is when it just uploads them to the hardware device, that's when the device executes it.

As such I just can't help but feel like someone is going for pure strawman arguments here.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[3]: Well
by raboof on Wed 10th Nov 2010 01:10 in reply to "RE[2]: Well"
raboof Member since:
2005-07-24

the binary blobs are not part of the kernel itself in any way or form


When I download linux-2.6.37-rc1.tar.bz2 , I find the firmware blobs inside. I'd say that makes them part of the kernel in at least *some* form.

they do not run in the kernel, they do not run on the CPU itself, and they are not needed for any part of the kernel itself to function.


You could argue what happens at run time is irrelevant: the GPL governs distribution, not execution.

As such I just can't help but feel like someone is going for pure strawman arguments here.


I honestly believe both sides of the story have some merit to it, and deserve to be mentioned...

Reply Parent Score: 2