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[GNU-linux-libre] firmware with licence problems

From: Paul O'Malley
Subject: [GNU-linux-libre] firmware with licence problems
Date: Sat, 04 Sep 2010 12:50:34 +0100
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When I applaud the list of "blobs" being created, it strikes me that the community may wish to think of a question or two around this issue.
Is it enough to label these things as incompatible?

When is the person who chose the licence to politely explain how their licence prevents people from using their software.

It was exactly this kind of process that got GLX freed up and allowed back in to the libre stack.

It takes time, in the case of GLX about a year.

What should not happen is that you accept someone else's word for it. This can leave you exposed to at least being wrong and perhaps angering the person or people you want on your side.

For instance there are a batch of fonts that seem to be nonfree however if you dig into the debian licence documentation the non free licence is actually turned into a licence which has more in common with WTFPL than anything else, except it could used in the politest of company. I'm not naming them for the simple reason this is a tangent to my main thought.

The results of action in this space may be to get code released with a good licence and save reinventing the wheel should anyone wish to work on materials in this space.

When seeking a licence change you should request that it is retroactive so anyone with any version can choose either the new free licence or the old one, given that people have come to depend on both.


Paul O'Malley

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