[OpenBIOS] [IMPORTANT] Legal Issues.

Stefan Reinauer stepan at core-systems.de
Tue Aug 28 04:20:52 CEST 2001

Dear OpenBIOS project members and other interested parties,

There has been a lot of rumours and discussion about the "availability" of
sources for Award BIOS and other commercial firmwares on this mailing list
recently. These sources were apparently available from their authors
accidently. Due to the copyright and patent infringement implied by such
actions as well as the fact that reusing faulty commercial concepts for an 
open-source firmware implementation is simply a bad idea I have to set 
down the following ground rules in order to achieve a clean implementation of
our project goals and avoid possible future prosecution:

1) The goal of this project is to develop a free, open source, architecture
   independant firmware implementation following, when possible, the IEEE 
   Standard for Boot (Initialization Configuration) Firmware (IEEE 1275-1994). 
   Including not only the implementation of the standard itself but also the 
   required toolkit consisting of a C to FCode compiler, an FCode tokenizer 
   and an FCode detokenizer. This toolkit will simplify driver and API 
   development implementing ANSI C as the development language instead of 
   Forth/FCode as suggested by the IEEE standard.

2) We cannot allow _any_ discussion or use of _any_ copyrighted, patented, or
   otherwise protected Firmware or BIOS implementations in this project or on 
   the mailing list associated with this project. All members of this project
   and/or the according mailing lists agree to not disclose or use any 
   copyrighted, patented, or otherwise protected information, ideas or concepts.
3) We do not intend to implement any of the ideas or concepts expressed in the
   current Intel 32bit architechture, except when these are necessary to insure 
   the compatability with existing hardware. Such ideas and concepts will only
   be used if such use is not restricted by _any_ laws, copyrights or patents.

4) In order to assure truly universal implementation and/or optimize the
   functionality and performance it is our expressed wish to work in conjunction 
   with other open source firmware projects.

5) Cooperation with hardware vendors is necessary to implement this project on
   an architecture-independent basis. In certain cases this may include signing 
   non-disclosure agreements with the aforementioned hardware vendors in an 
   attempt to acquire hardware specific information or support that may not 
   otherwise be available although the results of such cooperation must be 
   freely redistributable.
6) Cooperation with any university, research project, or organization is desired 
   except in such cases where the resulting information is restricted in use or 

7) Although we agree with the ideas promoted by the free software foundation we 
   do not and/or cannot necessarily agree with all of the rules set by the 
   foundation. In this light it could, to some extent, be a contrast of wishes to 
   become an offical GNU project.
If, for whatever reasons, any of the above statements are unacceptable or seem
to be inccorect or unclear in _any_ way please do not hesitate to discuss this 
matter on the mailing list, I am open for suggestions. This is simply an attempt 
to assure the legal stauts of this project, protecting those involved from legal
prosecution as well as to state the general goals of the project.

  Best regards,
     Stefan Reinauer <stepan at core-systems.de>
	    OpenBIOS project founder.

Mad, adj.:
        Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence.
                -- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"
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