[rt2x00-users] Ralink Firmware disassembly
Thadeu Lima de Souza Cascardo
cascardo at holoscopio.com
Thu Dec 3 19:32:17 UTC 2009
On Thu, Dec 03, 2009 at 08:20:05PM +0100, Radosław Szkodziński wrote:
> On Thu, 3 Dec 2009 17:01:50 -0200
> Thadeu Lima de Souza Cascardo <cascardo at holoscopio.com> wrote:
> > I am not arguing they must distribute their source code or release
> > their firmware as GPLv2. I am arguing they already distribute the
> > "blob" as GPLv2, since they do not point to any other license but
> > GPLv2 when distributing their drivers, which include the firmware.
> GPLv2 requires the licence to be contained in source code or the
> LICENCE file. THis could be easily defended against in court as an
> oversight and a new driver version would be published. I bet that will
> be what Ralink does - provide a LICENCE.firmware file.
> Not sure what would happen if anyone started to decompile the firmware
> citing its licence right now.
> Disclaimer: not a lawyer.
IANAL either. But the matter is not what GPLv2 requires, but what the copyright
law requires. Let me tell you what was done in here to get to the firmware blob:
After clicking in the site to download the driver, the user was presented with
the usual header that tells the said software is GPLv2 and asked for his/her
name and email and to click Accept. After that, the browser starts downloading a
tarball file, which contains the driver source code. This source code contains
an auto-generated C header file, with what is loaded into the device.
So, only can assume (and you would dare say it would be a rather safe
assumption) everything in that tarball is licensed as GPLv2. Otherwise, many
free software projects, including Linux, cannot be safely redistributed since
they don't include a license header in all files. I'd say requesting to accept a
license before downloading a package file is equivalent to including a
LICENSE/COPYING file in said package.
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