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Re: Leverage in licensing discussions

Robert Collins <robertc@robertcollins.net> writes:

> On Fri, 2008-11-07 at 20:01 +0000, David Given wrote:
> > 2. For at least some of these devices, even if the source code was
> > available it would add no value, because of legal restrictions
> > governing which firmware blobs can be used on that hardware.
> I don't agree with this point: there may be no added value for *most
> users* - but if I had the firmware source I could e.g. fix a bug to get
> a region the manufacturer had not bothered to certify in to certify the
> device. Or open up the power/frequency to ranges I hold a licence to
> operate in.

I argue that this *does* represent added value for most users.

If you, as a competent hacker, are free to modify and implement such
an improvement, and you're free to then redistribute the modified
version, then many other users *do* benefit because such improvements
as are widely useful will tend to be distributed widely.

In this way, freedom to modify and redistribute is beneficial to *all*
users, whether or not they want to excercise it themselves; just as
freedom to modify my kitchen appliance and sell it back to me (or sell
me the service of doing so) benefits me even if that freedom is only
exercised by my friendly independent appliance-modification shop.

 \        “If I melt dry ice, can I swim without getting wet?” —Steven |
  `\                                                            Wright |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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