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 449361
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[3]: Well
by raboof on Wed 10th Nov 2010 01:10 UTC 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

RE[4]: Well
by l3v1 on Wed 10th Nov 2010 07:06 in reply to "RE[3]: Well"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

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.


No. That makes them part of the archive containing the kernel source.

Differences, oh my.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Well
by m_abs on Wed 10th Nov 2010 10:31 in reply to "RE[3]: Well"
m_abs Member since:
2005-07-06

"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.
"
"When I open my fridge I find a beer inside. I'd say that makes it a part of my fridge in at least *some* form."

Makes about as much sense.

Edited 2010-11-10 10:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Well
by WereCatf on Wed 10th Nov 2010 12:20 in reply to "RE[4]: Well"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

"[q]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.
"
"When I open my fridge I find a beer inside. I'd say that makes it a part of my fridge in at least *some* form."

Makes about as much sense. [/q]

The beer is not required to manufacture nor operate the fridge, it's not part of the plans for the fridge and in fact, is not a part of the fridge at all, only a part of its contents.

Reply Parent Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

When I download a driver.zip, I get a readme.txt along side the actual filename.drv. I can choose to read that .txt or not. It is in the driver package but the actual driver works with or without readme.txt

When I download kernel.zip, I get firmware along side the actual linuz.bin kernel binary. I can choose copy those fimware blobs along side the kernel binary or not. They are in the kernel package but the actual kernel works with or without them in place. You may get the firmware when you download kernel.tar.gz but you don't have to pay any further attention to them then you pay to random text file under /docs/.

Perhaps they should package a kernel.tar.gz and kernel-withfirmware.tar.gz but otherwise, it seems like a non-issue.

Personally, I think firmware should be on the hardware board (it's easy to re-flash through an "update wizard") and drivers should be open source by default practice. I have never heard justification for making hardware drivers "competitive advantage" that balanced out the end user grief currently caused by such thinking. Until an open source comparable alternative becomes available, one has to use the closed alternative that works though. I'll happily use Nouveau when it's performance and function support matches or exceeds Nvidia-GLX for example.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Well
by Kochise on Wed 10th Nov 2010 19:09 in reply to "RE[3]: Well"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

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

The GPL is such a harsh DRM that it not only directs what have to be in the code or not, yet also what is bundled in an archive file, being later of any use or not ? Haven't I heard that RMS doesn't like restrictive licencing scheme ? Where is freedom ? Everyone is free to use or not these binary blobs (as you call them) Remove them and you skip out the users of Linux that do not care about this silliness...

Kochise

Reply Parent Score: 0