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Re: Binary-only firmware covered by the GPL?

On Fri, Mar 26, 2004 at 07:56:41AM -0600, John Hasler wrote:
> IMHO the term "source code" applies to software and has no useful meaning
> when applied to such things.

Actually many pieces of hardware have "source code" these days.
Ultimately that code is compiled to produce ASICs (which are fixed in
operation) or FPGAs (which are typically loaded on every power-up).

FPGAs are a programmable device consisting of lots of little RAMs
and wires that connect them and programmable switches in between.

It's quite possible that some of the device firmware is actually
data to load into an FPGA. That data isn't actually executed (as in the
precise wording of the GPL) though the effect is much the same.
There is actually source code though. Disassembly isn't meaningful
in this case and reverse engineering intractable....

Hamish Moffatt VK3SB <hamish@debian.org> <hamish@cloud.net.au>

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