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.
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RE[6]: Well
by TemporalBeing on Wed 10th Nov 2010 18:47 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Well"
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"[q][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. [/q]

Same with those binary blobs. They are not required to run the Linux Kernel at all. They do, however, aid parts of the Linux Kernel in working with the underlying hardware on specific systems, but the Linux Kernel could just as easily operate on those systems without the binary blobs being used.

For example, the QLA2000 SCSI controller requires a binary blob to operate. However, one could just as easily boot off of a CD to run the Linux Kernel on the same system. The hard disks behind the QLA2000 SCSI controller and the controller itself won't be accessible to the user, but the system will operate. Adding the binary blob for the controller will allow the controller and its associated disks to be operational for the user; but is not required for the Linux Kernel to operate on said system, even if said systems is otherwise useless - e.g. it has no other drives for the user to run the system from.

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