Is Ubuntu commited to free software?

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at
Thu Jun 10 03:56:41 UTC 2010

"Danny Piccirillo" <danny.piccirillo at> wrote:

>On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 16:37, David Schlesinger <lefty at access->wrote:
>> On 6/9/10 1:21 PM, "Danny Piccirillo" <danny.piccirillo at> wrote:
>> >
>> > Upstream linux is not free. That is why LinuxLibre was created.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > I have doubts that this was unintentional. Here's a list of nonfree stuff
>> in
>> > Linux:
>> >
>> >
>> Danny, if you or anyone else has an issue with the governance of the kernel
>> project, attempting to address it via an end-run through a "litmus test" of
>> Ubuntu's support for "software freedom" seems a rather passive-aggressive
>> way to go about it. I don't see much productive coming out of this
>> discussion.
>> If you're not happy with the way the kernel project is being run, I suggest
>> you'd do better to go talk to Linus and Andrew Morton about it.
>> If Ubuntu's governance is not to your liking, there are plenty of other
>> distros. If none of those is to your liking, you can roll your own.
>The fact is that Linux is not entirely free, and there is a project which is
>the Linux kernel without the nonfree bits. Talking about linux governance is
>out of the scope of this discussion. Ubuntu's philosophy says it is free,
>but even the free software only option has nonfree bits. Why shouldn't i
>expect the mere option to have a fully free system using Ubuntu?
Non-free software in Main is a bug.  So fix the bug. Your would appear to 
confirm the that criteria for "non-free" on that list includes things that are 
free, but can be used to load non-free firmware, so the list doesn't impress 
me.  Since iwl 4965 is on your list and that's what one of my laptops runs, I 
decided to have a look at drivers/net/wireless/iwlwifi/iwl-4965.c.

 * Copyright(c) 2003 - 2009 Intel Corporation. All rights reserved.
 * This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
 * under the terms of version 2 of the GNU General Public License as
 * published by the Free Software Foundation.
 * This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT
 * ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or
 * FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the GNU General Public License for
 * more details.
 * You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along 
 * this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc.,
 * 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110, USA
 * The full GNU General Public License is included in this distribution in the
 * file called LICENSE.
 * Contact Information:
 *  Intel Linux Wireless <ilw at>
 * Intel Corporation, 5200 N.E. Elam Young Parkway, Hillsboro, OR 97124-6497

License seems OK.

I read through the code and it appears to load some microcode, but I didn't 
see anything in the source that looked like anything other than the preferred 
form of modification.  I'm not a kernel hacker so I might have miss understood 
what I was looking at.  Also that list mentions version 2.6.30 and I used the 
current Ubuntu 2.6.32 source for Lucid and it may have changed.

So I'm curious what's non-free in that file to get it on the list?

Scott K

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