absurd: network connection required to obtain a network driver

Bud Roth junk at taiotoshi.org
Thu Jul 3 20:47:58 UTC 2008

You've identified an issue regarding copies of Ubuntu CDs that, while a
valid concern, can be addressed.  (I'm a lawyer, not a developer, so
that's where my strengths and weaknesses fall.)  Broadcom wouldn't agree
to let Canonical distribute the network card driver with its CDs if
they--as you note--were uncomfortable with third parties making copies
of the Canonical CDs.  The question is how do you make them

(Canonical actively encourages third parties to copy its CDs and
wouldn't want something in the CD that prevents this, so the freedom to
copy CDs needs to be protected too.)

If Canonical could get Broadcom to agree to let Canonical distribute the
drivers with the CD, your concern about third party copies can be
addressed in licensing language that made it clear that third parties
could copy the CD and distribute it with the driver so long as the third
party copier and "fourth party" recipient honored the distribution
agreement between Broadcom and Canonical.  This is not so different from
GNU conditions on incorporating GNU software into new products.

It's something to have your lawyers look at, but I suspect the real
problem is that Broadcom doesn't see a need to help Ubuntu users and/or
worries that "unlicensed" third party copies might water down their
legal arguments for going after driver reverse engineering.  That is
probably their real worry.  That someone will work the Broadcom driver
into a competitor's product.


Virginia Ubuntu user

On Thu, 2008-07-03 at 21:57 +0200, Martin Pitt wrote:
> Mackenzie Morgan [2008-07-03 14:31 -0400]:
> > On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 2:26 PM, Martin Pitt <martin.pitt at ubuntu.com> wrote:
> > > Przemysław Kulczycki [2008-07-03 20:14 +0200]:
> > >> If not, then maybe Canonical could ask Broadcom  for permission to
> > >> redistribute these files?
> > >
> > > That already happened many times, but fell on deaf ears unfortunately.
> > 
> > And even then, that'd just give Canonical permission to redistribute
> > them.  It wouldn't give us (the users who like to make copies of our
> > Ubuntu CDs and hand them out) permission.
> Well, of course I meant "for Ubuntu", i. e. permission to redistribute
> the firmware freely (as in beer, and as in "no limits").
> Martin
> -- 
> Martin Pitt                        | http://www.piware.de
> Ubuntu Developer (www.ubuntu.com)  | Debian Developer  (www.debian.org)
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