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Re: Debian on Pine64 H64B?

On September 7, 2021 4:16:27 PM UTC, Pete Batard <pete@akeo.ie> wrote:

>And my point is that, since we are dealing with non free systems, it 
>makes little difference whether the non-free blobs reside in an EEPROM 
>or on boot media.

it makes ALL the difference in the world.

not only is it deeply unethical to support non-free firmware, in the instance where such firmware contained spying backdoors that resulted in a user system being compromised, DEBIAN DEVELOPERS COULD BE HELD LEGALLY LIABLE.

if however the Pi Foundation wishes to distribute such unethical firmware to individuals, then they have engaged in a Contract of Sale with those individuals and THEY are legally liable for any damage or harm caused, under various Sale of Goods Acts or equivalent in the respective country.

likewise with a PC *that you bought* you did *NOT* buy that PC from a Debian Developer, you bought it from a PC distributor and your Contract of Sale is with THEM.

if you want a Debian Developer to enter into a Contract to provide you with a preinstalled nonfree firmware blob you should pay them adequate amounts of money so that they can take out the requisite Liability and Indemnity Insurance.

if you are not prepared to do that please do not complain because your life is made more "inconvenient".

>The goal of the Pi Foundation has always been to provide the cheapest 
>platform they could, and eliminating the need of an Flash EEPROM for 
>platform bringup is one effective way to do that.

indeed.  thus, that places the product firmly in EXACTLY the same category as a non-free WIFI product that requires non-free firmware.

by forcing YOU to download that nonfree firmware, YOU take responsibility for that action.

WHEN the Pi Foundation realise the seriousness of their laziness and provide an on-board EEPROM or SPI NOR Flash IC just like every x86 PC has done since the late 1980s THEN it will be possible for debian to support their products because Debian Developers will not find themselves in the situation of being legally liable for distribution of potentially dangerous firmware.

>Again, that does not mean that I approve or am happy with that
>but I don't think there's much to disagree about what the intention of 
>the Pi Foundation has been, and why they happily went with an SoC that 
>allowed users to provide all the firmware blobs needed for early boot
>their own boot media.


this has been pissing people off for some considerable time.

Broadcom licensed the ARC Core firmware before ARC was bought by Synopsis and their License Agreement clearly prevents and prohibits them from providing the source code to third parties (you, me, Pi Foundation). the sale of ARC to Synopsis makes that even more challenging.

it also places them needlessly under NDA and also likely prevents and prohibits them from engaging in reverse-engineering, or be seen supporting ANY efforts which violate their Contract with Synopsis.

given that Broadcom's ACTUAL market for these SoCs is 100+ MILLION unit Set Top Boxes and TVs, the Pi Foundation Market is utterly trivial by comparison and, commercially, Broadcom really don't give a flying f*** about it.  they care about their relationship with ARC (Synopsis) and do not want to do ANYTHING that could jeapordise their multi-billion-dollar sales.

people forget: the *only reason* that the Pi exists at all is because Eben Upton was an employee doing the design in his spare time, with inside access to NDA'd documents.

when his Managers discovered what he was doing and that it was for "Education" they couldn't exactly tell him to stop.

the Pi Processors due to being manufactured in such absolutely insane quantities are at least FOUR times lower cost than equivalents from Freescale, FIVE OR MORE times cheaper than Texas Instruments equivalents, and even beat the s*** out of Allwinner pricing, which is quite an achievement.

it makes *using* it very attractive, but unfortunately, that low "price" burdens everyone else with a "cost" - a real and actual financial burden - that Broadcom is in no way compensating anyone for (and would jeapordise their business if they did)

the situation is one where Broadcom is effectively spongeing off of Free Software developers, YET AGAIN burdening the entire Free Software Community with the cost of cleaning up their mess caused by sheer pathological Corporate laziness and profiteering, and i'm getting pretty fed up with it.

i am ESPECIALLY getting fed up of people not fully and properly understanding the realities of the situation and complaining that they can't get nonfree firmware preinstalled with products, for their own convenience.

please therefore have a little more understanding and appreciation for what Debian Developers are doing, and why they are doing it, and the difficult (spongeing) circumstances and obligations they are under.


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