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Re: On the freeness of a BLOB-containing driver

Hamish Moffatt wrote:

And 4. They're not allowed to by regulations, eg wireless hardware
whose firmware cannot be distributed by FCC rule.
It's not at all clear to me that the type-approval process depends on security by obscurity in the firmware. Some manufacturers may think it does, but I haven't seen where FCC requires that.

Note also that the Radio Amateurs on the list want to operate this hardware outside of its type-approval and have the legal authority to do so.

I'm going to disagree (violently) here. FLASH costs money, which drives
up costs to consumers directly.

Maybe, maybe not. A lot of the processors come with it on board whether you want it or not, many of the ones that don't have an expensive (in pin-count) external memory bus.

Further, if you want to support firmware
upgrades, you need to find a VERY robust process else you have huge technical support and repair issues, not to mentioned unhappy customers.
In general the FLASH is being loaded via JTAG, and the RAM is being loaded via JTAG. No difference. You can write a device with completely wedged software via JTAG.

I'm an EE working on industrial telecommunications equipment and I always argue for putting as little as possible in FLASH, so that we can upgrade it easily later.

Are you sure you don't mean ROM? In general, FLASH systems are designed to upgrade in place.

As a follow on, have you ever seen a PC motherboard whose BIOS can be
upgraded from linux?

As a matter of fact, Linux has drivers for some motherboard FLASH chips under the MTD stuff. I don't know who uses them.



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