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Re: New summary: Binary peripheral software

On Wed, 7 Apr 2004 08:33:45 +1000
Hamish Moffatt <hamish@debian.org> wrote:
> I was talking about executable programs (sometimes known as "software")
> specifically. So I'll repeat the question: can I distribute a compiled
> version of my software, say it's GPLed, and when people ask for the
> source, tell them the binary IS the preferred form for modification?
> That seems to be the proposed treatment for firmware. I don't see why
> general-purpose software should be treated differently.

This all goes back to "what's the preferred form of modification?" The
answer differs depending on the work, and I'd argue depending on the
software too. There's nothing in the GPL which says that you can't write
a binary manually and distribute it, nor should it. What you really want
to be asking is, "were the example binary blobs [specifically firmware]
written in that manner? Is that their preferred form of modification?"

Keep in mind that we're not talking about x86 instruction set binary.
We're talking about crap that some chipset reads and maybe runs. It may
very well be the case that that's the preferred form of modification
*even for the manufacturer*, let alone the person who wrote these
particular bits.

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	   After a while, you realise the pig is enjoying it.

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