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Re: more evil firmwares found

Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> Thiemo Seufer wrote:
> > Since it is commercially benefical for vendors to detach the firmware
> > from their hardware, we will see an increasing number of such drivers
> > in the future.
> And accordingly, there will be increased benefits in having firmware under
> Free Software licenses, because it will be *possible* to modify it, and it
> will be only restricted by licensing.

I agree it would be benficial, but keep in mind such firmware will
likely be some commercial RTOS (with rather limited free alternatives),
or even the result of some VHDL tool. In both cases, the vendor has
(at least ATM) a hard time to provide source under whatever license.

> When it's burned into hardware, it
> doesn't matter what the license is, because you can't change it without a
> soldering iron.  When it's software, it's worthwhile to have it under a
> free software license.

Well, I disagree. :-)
It would be still interesting to have the source to the onboard flash's

> > In the end, we will have a useful kernel in non-free, and a free one
> > in main as face-saving gesture.
> May I repeat that all of the hardware on two different recent machines in
> this house runs *without* requiring non-free firmware downloads?

That's the state of today, and you were either careful or lucky about
it. But detaching the firmware and handling it via the driver saves the

	- a flash chip
	- board space for it
	- headaches about driver/firmware incompatibilities
	- development and maintenance of some flash tool for N OSes
	- myriads of support calls from clueless users
Furthermore, reconfigurable logic becomes more and more common, so the
overall use of firmware will increase, as well as pushing it into OS

For Linux users this is btw. an improvement, as it saves them from
keeping around a different OS for flash updates.


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