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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Sun, 2008-06-08 at 18:39 +0200, Hans de Goede wrote:
> > Alex now says it isn't good enough, and is actually counter-productive.
> If I get Alex correctly he is saying that, to his goal, which is 100% Free 
> software everywhere (including in his toothbrush), this is counterproductive, 
> as it may make it easier to distribute binary firmware along with the kernel, 
> as it now could be put in a seperate tarbal removing GPL worries etc.

If it's a GPL violation to ship the non-GPL'd firmware in the source
tarball, it's also a GPL violation to distribute it as part of a

So yes, putting it in a separate source tarball removes the GPL worries
there -- but if you're then going to use the CONFIG_BUILTIN_FIRMWARE
feature and build non-GPL'd firmware into your vmlinux, that brings
exactlly those same worries right back again.

If you build non-GPL'd firmware into your kernel, you may not distribute
that kernel image (although currently we do just that; we shouldn't).

> If the firmware truely gets put in a different tarbal (and thus eventually in a 
> different srpm), then it will be feasible to do a no blobs included Fedora spin 
> like gnewsense, which would be great.

Fedora already uses 'doctored' tarballs for stuff like openssh; I think
it would be reasonable enough to do that with a firmware-less kernel
source tarball too. It's easy enough to build the firmware package
separately (although first, I'm going to make the kernel srpm spit out a
'kernel-firmware' subpackage; we can talk about splitting it later).

> Now Alex worries about someone still slipping in some firmware into the kernel 
> itself instead of into the firmware package, well as with the current situation 
> with a completely seperate kernel, audits will still be necessary.

That's nothing special -- it's just the same as we should always be
vigilant for someone slipping non-GPL'd _code_ into the kernel.
Should we just give up, just because people slip up occasionally?


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