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Bug#502959: general: raff.debian.org uses non-free software

On Tue, 2008-10-21 at 12:45 +0200, Luca Niccoli wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 11:41 AM, Aurelien Jarno <aurel32@debian.org> wrote:
> > raff.debian.org uses a Compaq Smart 5i RAID card. A flash memory is used
> > to store the firmware. While the firmware is freely downloadable (as in
> > beer) on HP website [1], we don't have the corresponding source code.

This is just getting ludicrous.

Can we just keep to the sensible dividing line that code executing on
the computer's main CPU, _under_ the operating system (not BIOS / SMI)
should be "free" to whatever divined standard.

Peripheral hardware isn't designed for you to run arbitrary code on its
CPU, and the fact it requires a firmware blob uploading is merely an
implementation detail. (GPUs are borderline of course.)

Having no source-code for firmware is hardly that different to having a
completely open-source driver which does un-told magic by poking
un-documented registers in a complex chip. Think Intel graphics before
they released documentation for (some of) their chips.

Peter Clifton

Electrical Engineering Division,
Engineering Department,
University of Cambridge,
9, JJ Thomson Avenue,

Tel: +44 (0)7729 980173 - (No signal in the lab!)

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