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Re: Mass bug filing: Cryptographic protection against modification

I wrote:
> Doesn't seem likely.  What purpose would such a thing serve?

Matt writes:
> The attempted inclusion of otherwise-DFSG software into Debian main
> intended to run on hardware which will only accept a crypto-signed
> binary?  Presumably because someone wants Debian to support the hardware
> in question.  I will find it interesting to see whether that software is
> accepted by ftpmasters and the debian-legal mavens, as the software
> licence is Free, but the source code is of near-to-zero usefulness, so
> the question of the Freeness of the source is academic.

But why would a manufacturer ship such a thing?  It doesn't protect his
secrets because he is shipping source, so what is the point?

> Call it perverse curiousity...

Well, we call them the Debian Free Software _Guidelines_.  If the
crypto-keyed hardware is the only existing hardware the stuff could run on
I'd call it non-free because the supplied source is incomplete: it does
not include everything needed to generate a usable binary.  In fact, one
could argue that such a thing is even less free than a plain binary since
there is no way at all to make modifications: you can't even patch the

It occurs to me that someone might ship such a thing in a vain attempt to
reconcile Free Software and some sort of DRM hardware.
John Hasler
john@dhh.gt.org (John Hasler)
Dancing Horse Hill
Elmwood, WI

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