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Re: [DRAFT] resolving DFSG violations

Am 2008-10-27 10:10:19, schrieb Neil Williams:
> > Because that's how the hardware works. If you are making a widget and
> > you need a fpga or hybrid chip of any sort, then you generate a binary
> > blob using the chip manufacturers tools.
> Are these "chip manufacturer tools" physical tools/machines or software
> programs? (i.e. something I need to pick up in my hands or something I
> need to execute?) Is there any way that someone else can use the same or
> similar tools to modify the blob (even if it is only useful to do so on
> a different board / with a different chipset)?

Some of those tools are under NDA an as I have already  mentioned  in  a
E-Mail for some seconds, they create mostly an IMAGE which then will  be
loaded into the Microcontroles SRAM.

Such SRAM, which in my case of a 8051 compatibel controller, can be  16,
32, 64 or 128 kByte...

Now you can claim, you can use SDCC (Small Device C Compiler; is  Debian
Package) to build the firmware, but manufactureres are saving  money  by
using the smalles memory model available and of course, the manufacturer
build tools are building highly optimizd binaries...

IF I wan to use SDCC for my projects, I have to increase the SRAM by the
factor 3, which mean, instead using 32 kByte I have to use 128 kByte.

Which increase the price for the microcontroller from 4 US$ to 9 US$.

> If the chip is used on a different board with different configuration,
> is the blob going to need to be changed and who gets to change it? Can

Imagine an ATMEL AT91SAM7S with bigger SRAM but without FLASH...

And even if I use this chip on 100 different products the firmware would
be different on each product.

> Debian include software that supports porting Debian to the new board or
> can the blob be used to lock Debian out? If I build a customised board
> myself, is the blob / lack of blob going to prevent me running free
> software on the chip/board?

Most Hardware would simlpy NOT run before uploading the Firmware...

It does not mather, WHICH Operating System: Linux, BSD, MacOS, Windows...
All do need a loader to run the hardware...

> From an embedded perspective - so am I. I admit, I know very little
> about the minutiae of hardware but I know I'm going to come up against
> these problems and I want to know more about fixing them - *without*
> needing to get permission from the chip manufacturers or getting their
> software tools or needing expensive hardware tools. 

Unfortunately, the optimized binaries produced by GCC  and  in  my  case
SDCC cost money in form of Hardware...

My Development suite (runing on Windows XP) cost  arround  8500 US$  but
using SDCC would cost me at least  3 million  Euro  more  in  production
which my customers have to pay...

I am not realy sure, 50.000 customers would accept hardware  which  cost
45 US$ instead of 40 US$ because there are 2-3 OSS frickler  which  want
access to the source because they want to fix something.

Do you would give the FIXES back to the manufacturer?

IF the hardware is working under Linux, BSD, MacOS, Windows and  others,
are you realy willing to give the changes back even the other users  are
using Windows?

I know a hardware manufacturer which gaved the sourcecode away under GPL
and it is IN the Debian distribution, but its OSS frickler upstream  has
never gaved the changes back to the manufacturer so others  can  benefit
from it...

I strongly do not agree with this practice...

Note:   The OSS firmware IS NOT compatibel with Windows and does
        not add any additional functionalyty except it is open!

Thanks, Greetings and nice Day/Evening
    Michelle Konzack
    24V Electronic Engineer
    Tamay Dogan Network
    Debian GNU/Linux Consultant

Linux-User #280138 with the Linux Counter, http://counter.li.org/
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