[packman] [PM] b43-firmware (openSUSE 11.2/noarch)

Michael Buesch mb at bu3sch.de
Thu Apr 22 18:31:22 CEST 2010

On Wednesday 21 April 2010 19:41:50 Larry Finger wrote:
> Detlef,
> Although I agree that these firmware files should be easily available,
> and that Broadcom is very unreasonable in not allowing redistribution of
> their firmware, the fact remains that these RPMs are probably in
> violation of Broadcom's copyright. Unless you have their express
> permission to make these files available, they should be removed.
> We have been extra careful not to violate Broadcom's intellectual
> property while doing the reverse engineering of the bcm43xx, b43, and
> b43legacy drivers. We work only from material that has been posted on a
> public site. That is why the development team only provides fwcutter to
> extract firmware from publicly-available Broadcom drivers, and not the
> firmware files themselves.

Does the RPM distribute the cut firmware? If so, I would suggest not to
do that.
I would go another way. I would package b43-fwcutter and the original(!)
wl.o driver into an RPM and cut the firmware out on the user's machine.

Some Distributions already distribute the wl.o driver for several years.
See OpenWRT for example. So I don't see a lot of risk in doing so. Otherwise
Broadcom would most likely already invoked their lawyers. On the other hand,
distributing firmware blobs that are already cut out of the original wl.o is
a completely new thing that nobody (to my knowledge) did, yet. So IMO it's risky
to become a precedence case. ;)

Distributing wl.o might be a corner-case that Broadcom does not care about. But
you certainly are not allowed to distribute derived works of wl.o (as in cut-out
firmware blobs). I have no idea how BCM will react to that.

I'm not a lawyer, so I might be completely wrong. So ignore me, if you want to.

Greetings, Michael.

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