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Re: If you really want Free firmware...

On Mon, Dec 13, 2004 at 02:13:53PM -0600, Kenneth Pronovici wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 13, 2004 at 07:50:02PM +0000, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> > On Mon, Dec 13, 2004 at 11:21:54AM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
> > > My surmise is that we'd need an effort like that, raising $250K, to 
> > > design and go to full-custom fabrication of an FPLA with fully-open 
> > > design.
> > 
> > Mine is that one can get useful things done without having to spend
> > ridiculous amounts of money, or even any money at all. Yours is that
> > you can't. Debian proves you wrong every day.
> > 
> > There is absolutely no reason why any money is needed for this. Design
> > the damn thing. Somebody will want to produce it. Manufacturing
> > companies would *leap* at the opportunity to make widely desireable
> > chips with zero royalty costs.
> I think what you're forgetting (or at least ignoring) is that designing
> hardware is not exactly like designing software.  The process is
> similar, yes, but it's not an apples-to-apples comparison.  At the
> least, this is because testing your hardware "implementation" is not
> "free" (as in beer).

Any commercial software company will tell you exactly the same thing
about software: testing is not free. We're *still* here. Consider why
this works (without resorting to things which are obviously not true,
like "current hardware doesn't ship with (many) known bugs", or
"proprietary software is more reliable").

> I'm not trying to be pessimistic here, just realistic.  I think that you
> should be careful not to underestimate these fairly significant
> differences between hardware and software.

I think you're "underestimating" the difficulty of creating
software. The difference is merely that you happen to be familiar with
a more effective way to do it.

Your point is quite amusing because historically any commercial
organisation would have told you the exact opposite:

 Software is far more expensive to produce than hardware, by several
 orders of magnitude.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
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