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[gNewSense-users] Fwd: WIH ASQ000000332170 - Internet - Software License

From: Kevin Dean
Subject: [gNewSense-users] Fwd: WIH ASQ000000332170 - Internet - Software License - Answer
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2008 23:16:14 -0400

This is the responce from Ericsson. The only change has been to remove
my personal phone number.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: WIH Gold <address@hidden>
Date: Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 4:40 AM
Subject: WIH ASQ000000332170 - Internet - Software License - Answer
To: address@hidden

 Dear   Kevin  Dean,

 This is the answer to the question that you submitted to
page, we hope that it is to your satisfaction.

 Best regards Support


  Thank you for contacting Ericsson!

 The firmware is not loaded by the OS; therefore, it does not fall
under the GNU license.


  I am a developer for gNewSense, a GNU/Linux distribution focused on
user freedoms as presented by the GNU Project Manifesto which states
all users have the right to edit, modify, redistribute, learn from and
adapt software.

 In the Linux kernel there is a device driver (fore200e) that was
published by FORE Systems Inc., a company purchased by Ericsson. The
license of this device driver says the driver is licensed under the
GNU General Public License (GPL) but then goes on to prompt that the
source code for the firmware is a trade secret and do not ask for it.

 I respect Ericsson's patent and trade secret rights, however the GPL
license terms binds all distributors of the software to provide
accompanying source code: in order to Ericsson to license this
software under the GNU GPL Ericsson is required to provide such source
or declare the terms of the GPL voided and cease distribution of that
software under GPL terms.

 In short, it is NOT possible to comply with the license of this
driver in either fashion since they are mutually exclusive. It is my
wish, as a developer for gNewSense, to get clarification to this
situation. Does Ericsson hold that this software is GPL (as published)
and honor it's obligation to provide source, or does Ericsson, at this
point, hold that source code is not publicly available, hence ending
the GPL license?

 We will happily remove the driver but it is our hope that Ericsson
will honor the terms of the GNU GPL by releasing corresponding
human-readable source code to enable users with those devices to use
their systems with Free Software.

 I can be contacted via e-mail at address@hidden or by
telephone in the USA at [XXX-XXX-XXXX]

 I seriously look forward to clarification on the license terms of this driver.

 -Kevin Dean

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