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Re: Debian-installer, older hardware, boot loaders, miboot & amiboot & ..

Ryan Underwood wrote:

> Sorry for late reply.
> On Tue, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:03:19AM +0200, Sven Luther wrote:
>> Notice that there is 200bytes or so of m68k asm, most of them A-trap
>> calls to the Mac OS rom, concerned. I doubt you have much chance of
>> getting anything but a 100% identical code, whatever the way you go at
>> generating it.
>> Anything you may do, these calls are needed, you could add some noop
>> calls in between, or some random stuff, but i doubt that this will be
>> more than smoke and mirrors.
Do we actually know this?  Has anyone disassembled it and seen precisely how
trivial it is?

> Case law (see Sega v. Accolade) suggests that trivial boot programs that
> are required for third party interoperability with the hardware are not
> copyrightable.  (See the part about the Genesis III console
> specifically.  Accolade used a boot loader copied from commercial
> Genesis cartridges to get around Sega's hardware lockout.)
> http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/102.html
> ---
> In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship
> extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation,
> concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is
> described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work
> ---
> Unless activation of these ROM functions is covered by a patent, it
> looks like it would fall clear on the side of a "process" or "method of
> operation".  Calling ROM functions is a process required to boot this
> machine.  Furthermore, there is only one way to express this process
> as encoded computer instructions.  That would seem to suggest that it is
> trivial, and thus would not qualify as a sufficiently original
> expression, as required by the Copyright Act for a work to be
> copyrightable.
> IANAL, etc.  Permission from Apple would be great, but without
> permission, this becomes like the UNIX ABI thing.  Are the various forms
> of
> mov ax, my_syscall
> int 0x80
> scattered throughout my program (included from proprietary system headers)
> considered to be copyrightable?  It just wouldn't make any sense.  Nor
> would it make any sense for code that does nothing significant besides
> perform calls to a proprietary ROM.
> Perhaps it would be a good idea to document exactly what this code does
> that is not utterly trivial.
Right.  If it really *is* utterly trivial, this case applies.  At this
point, I don't see that we know whether it is or not, really, since as far
as I know nobody has bothered to disassemble it and explain what it
actually does.  :-/

>  Then we can make a decision whether or not
> reimplementing it is worth pursuing or if it will even afford us any extra
> protection at all, based on the above historical information.

Make sure your vote will count.

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