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Re: Why firmware generally won't be Free Software

Bruce writes:
> If we ask for the embedded programming in the devices to be open as well,
> we are essentially asking for the hardware design below the bus level to
> be opened.

That doesn't follow.  The embedded code is essentially a driver for the
internal device and reveals only a limited amount about how it works.
Exactly how much it reveals depends on the design and varies a lot.

There are a couple of other problems, however.

a) The embedded code often includes large chunks of sublicensed code which
   the vendor is not at liberty to release.

b) The hardware often contains sublicensed logic protected by NDAs so
   ferocious that disclosing source for the code that drives devices
   containing it could result in termination of the license.

The other thing to consider is that many of these devices may not have much
in the way of original hardware design: everything that differentiates this
guy from his competitors may be in the embedded code.
John Hasler

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