I am writing as a member of the Debian project, which distributes a
version of Linux. The project is attempting to resolve the licencing of
firmware used with Linux.

Linux includes a driver (cassini) and firmware for GigaSwift NICs which
are listed as copyright of Sun Microsystems and licenced under the GNU
General Public Licence (GPL). Thank you for supporting Linux and free

Unfortunately, applying the GPL to the firmware is problematic, because
you distribute it in binary (or equivalent) form, and not the source
code that your programmers used to create it. The GPL states that
anyone redistributing a work that it covers must also offer to
distribute the source code. This means that strictly speaking no-one
outside Sun Microsystems is allowed to distribute the firmware, which I
assume was not your intent.

Please can you clarify the licence for the firmware, and preferably
issue a new licence that clearly allows Debian and others to distribute
the firmware.


Ben Hutchings

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