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Re: Why firmware generally won't be Free Software

Andrew Suffield wrote:
Come on, this argument is from the 1980s, and your side *lost* in the real world. Free software is here.
It's sort of silly to say my side lost, in this context. I'm trying to make Free Software usable by all people and have been doing so since sometime in the late eighties. I think that we can lose that fight if we ask for more than we need from the hardware manufacturers, because they'll simply turn away from us.
They can open their specifications or we'll &*($ implement around them and eventually drive them out of the market.
Well, I like the idea of more open hardware. Indeed, I've been trying to make some. I have a design using the $6 AVR chip that comes with onboard hardware USB (rather than the somewhat less reliable bit-banged USB used on other AVRs) to offload real-time tasks from Linux into a dedicated hardware device where they belong. It's all programmable with GCC and uses a Free runtime. I have been learning interesting stuff like how to do solder-paste on surface-mount components with a toaster-oven.

However, I have not yet been able to produce a large and commercially viable hardware market that can replace the proprietary one. And I am afraid that we insist on that and don't get it, that it will sink us.



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