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Re: Packaging em8300 Drivers [Was: Re: Packaging reverse engineered software]

On Sun, Sep 02, 2001 at 06:44:36PM -0400, Brian Ristuccia wrote:

> > So I think in the best case this piece of software is contrib, but
> > reverse engineering is prohibited in a number of countries 
> More important is whether or not reverse engineering was prohibited in the
> country where it actually took place. In most places, including the United
> States, reverse engineering is a legitimate engineering practice engaged in
> by almost every hardware manufacturer and software publisher.
nice to hear.

> > and so
> > I am not sure if this would be better go into non-free or even stay
> > out of the archive. Therefore I am asking for some advice.
> > 
> Since we can't distribute the firmware at all without infringing, it can't
> even go in contrib or non-free.
> One way to deal with the situation would be to reverse engineer the
> microcode to produce a specification on the instruction set, and then write
> new microcode based on the specification. Another way is to get permission
> to distribute the microcode (and preferably its source code as well) from
> the copyright holder. 
Well actually the microcode is a whole mystery of its own. I am even
not quite sure if there is any open source compiler that could create
binaries for that chip. So reverse engineering that piece is 
something beyond the current possibilities.

> A third, less optimal solution might be to require the user to provide their
> own copy of the Windows .vxd file from which the firmware would be extracted
> at runtime. In this case, the software could go in contrib. If the user is a
> legitimate owner of the card in question, they probably own a copy of the
> .vxd file as well and so won't be inconvenienced too badly.
That is actually the current solution of upstream which I have taken
over in the .deb . So it's contrib then.

Thanx for pointing out those solutions.

kind regards, 
Michael Moerz 

pub  1024D/B651C436 2000-09-17 Michael Moerz <e9625136@stud3.tuwien.ac.at>
     Key fingerprint = 55DB 2F1A BF45 DBAB F542  4128 2173 8753 B651 C436

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