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Re: On the freeness of a BLOB-containing driver

On Sun, Dec 12, 2004 at 11:39:30PM +1100, Hamish Moffatt wrote:
> On Sat, Dec 11, 2004 at 04:43:48PM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
> [..]
> > There are a number of reasons that a device's firmware won't generally 
> > be opened to us:
> > 
> > 1. The manufacturer's concerns regarding the proprietary nature of 
> > information about their device that is below the bus.
> > 2. The fact that misprogramming the device at that level can damage the 
> > hardware.
> > 3. They aren't going to want to support more firmware versions than they 
> > have to.
> And 4. They're not allowed to by regulations, eg wireless hardware
> whose firmware cannot be distributed by FCC rule.

I'm pretty sure that FUD got killed last time someone (perhaps you, even)
raised it.  From memory, the FCC rules only state that there must be a means
for effectively preventing the modification of the firmware used in the
device.  Obscurity is not the only means of doing that.

- Matt

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