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Gmane
From: Alan Cox <alan <at> lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
Subject: Re: Red Hat Will Pay Microsoft To Get Past UEFI Restrictions
Newsgroups: gmane.linux.redhat.fedora.general
Date: Friday 1st June 2012 07:29:51 UTC (over 5 years ago)
> If you wouldn't mind explaining *exactly* how this would be "non-free",
> and why this would exclude this approach, I would be most interested.

Free Software is usually defined as providing a set of freedoms

- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose

Ok not a problem

- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does
  your computing as you wish

Tricky without the keys

- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor

Not a problem if the key licensing etc is right

- The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others

Which gets back into keys again given a modified version might not work

The FSF view is this (quoting)

"Freedom 1 includes the freedom to use your changed version in place of
the original. If the program is delivered in a product designed to run
someone else's modified versions but refuse to run yours — a practice
known as “tivoization” or “lockdown”, or (in its practitioners'
perverse
terminology) as “secure boot” — freedom 1 becomes a theoretical
fiction
rather than a practical freedom. This is not sufficient. In other words,
these binaries are not free software even if the source code they are
compiled from is free. "

In the case of software that is under the GPL license the terms and
conditions require that:

"The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code
means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any
associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control
compilation and installation of the executable."

There isn't a clear consensus on that interpretation but a fair number of
commentators believe that this would have to include crypto keys if the
key was required. In this case of the kernel this has been stated
publically by some of the rightsholders too, a point a court generally
considers.

Attempting to lock up the kernel this way is certainly non-free, and
thus doesn't meet Fedora Project guidelines. The legality is a much more
complicated question, but one I guess that some day will get tested.

In the Fedora case this takes us to Freedom as one of the project goals.

Alan




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