As an extension of the October trustees meeting, the Ten team enquired
about license usage for including firmware and binary-source material on
the media they were producing.
The items they wanted were fine, but I realize that it's a more general
issue, that is solved well by GLEP23.
I'd like to propose the addition of a new license group,
BINARY-REDISTRIBUTABLE, to include all licenses that are either totally
clear in permitting redistribution (the FSF, GPL, OSI groups) as well as
all licenses that are closed but contain language explicitly permitting
Anybody wishing to select packages for building packages and/or media to
redistribute then simply needs to pick the license group, and enable
Each license in the group must fit the following requirements:
- MUST permit redistribution in binary form.
- MUST NOT require explicit approval (No items from @EULA)
- MUST NOT restrict the cost of redistribution.
- MAY require explicit inclusion of the license with
the distribution 
- IFF there is an explicit inclusion requirement, USE=bindist
MUST cause a copy of the license to be installed in a file
location compliant with the license,
A partial initial contents:
1. On licenses that require inclusion of the license with the
Some licenses contain language that explicitly requires that the license
always be present with whatever distribution of the binary content.
The qlogic-fibre-channel-firmware license, used for
sys-block/qla-fc-firmware is a good example of this.
Going a long way back, upstream did not permit redistribution at all,
which posed problems for distributing initramfs environments that
contained the firmware to using this hardware.
Simply relying on the existence of /usr/portage/ was not suitable,
because CD isos do not contain /usr/portage/ at all. The reasonable
solution at the time was installing a copy of the license to the docdir,
so that it would always be present (in any binpkg, as well as any
system/image with the package).
Additionally, a couple of the licenses go a step further, and contain
language like the following:
"Your rights to redistribute the Software shall be contingent upon your
installation of this Agreement in its entirety in the same directory as
While we don't install a copy of the license for most free software to
save space, we SHOULD endeavour to install a copy of these more
restrictive licenses so that we are always in compliance with them.
I don't like having to install blocks of text to my / partition
(/lib/firmware/ for firmware), but I see no alternative if we wish to
distribute the software.
Robin Hugh Johnson
Gentoo Linux: Developer, Trustee & Infrastructure Lead
E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
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