[alsa-devel] alsa-firmware licensing

Tim Jackson lists at timj.co.uk
Tue Jan 29 19:11:35 CET 2008

Clemens Ladisch wrote:

Thanks for all your help Clemens and apologies for the slow reply.

 > Tim Jackson wrote:

[... emi firmware licensing]
> The emi firmware files are copies of linux/drivers/usb/misc/emi26_fw.h
> and emi62_fw_*.h.  emi26_fw.h contains three copies of this "license",
> but only the first one contains this paragraph which is missing in
> license.txt:
> | Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of this firmware 
> | image as part of a Linux or other Open Source operating system kernel 
> | in text or binary form as required. 
> I've added this paragraph to license.txt.


>> Does the ALSA project have special authorisation ("written consent") to 
>> distribute this?
> Well, I'd guess the alsa-firmware package is part of Linux.

Unfortunately I don't think that's a "guess" that some distributors such 
as Fedora can risk to take. Although ALSA is of course part of a "Linux 
... kernel", the wording "as part of" is ambiguous and there's certainly 
an argument that a standalone ALSA firmware package (i.e. not 
distributed along with the rest of the kernel) is not "distribution...as 
part of" a kernel.

Much though I'd *like* these firmwares to be distributable, unless those 
licensing terms get changed, I think we'll have to drop those particular 
firmwares in Fedora.

> Please note that the emi26 and emi62 drivers still use the in-kernel
> copies of their firmware images; the files in alsa-firmware are as yet
> unused.

That's useful, thanks. Is the plan to drop the in-kernel ones at some 
point then? At least this means if we do drop the firmware it won't have 
any negative effect, at least at the moment.



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