GPLv3 and Mobile Phones

Paul Bohme openmoko at
Sat Dec 9 15:40:59 CET 2006

Gabriel Ambuehl wrote:
> Personally I could care less if there was a binary only module there. I'm 
> pragmatic, not religious. Saying we don't add that for such a reason doesn't 
> help freedom of choice either.
> Personally I say add the hardware, even if it needs a binary driver (or even 
> just firmware). The religious group is then free to remove the driver and not 
> use WiFi ;)

Am of similar opinion - while I'm fastidious about licensing (both on 
personal projects and using Linux extensively at work), it's for purely 
pragmatic reasons.  Am of different opinion, however, on the binary 
modules, again for pragmatic reasons.  The Zaurus was stuck with an old 
2.4.x kernel for an extended period of time because the SD driver was a 
binary.  Since that was one of the features that made the device great 
(CF and SD.. Yum) it was like having an anchor you have to drag around.  

Would like to avoid similar again, if at all possible.  Loading firmware 
into a device is no big deal - it doesn't link into any other code so 
might as well be any random opaque blob of data.  Having to deal with 
the contortions involved when one of the modules you need is pinned in 
time while the rest of the system is straining to grow is something else 


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