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Re: non-free firmware: driver in main or contrib?

Matthew Garrett <mjg59@srcf.ucam.org> writes:

> On Mon, 2004-10-11 at 20:36 -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
>> It's a perfectly reasonable means to discriminate.  One is *in the
>> hardware*.  If I buy a widget, I don't care whether it uses firmware
>> in an eeprom or a well-trained gerbil.  It's a box.  Software on my
>> CPU is different.
> The firmware is never executed on your CPU. 

The driver is.  Look, there are two circumstances here:

* If the firmware's on an eeprom, I could build another device just
  like that one but implemented with clever rodents instead.  And the
  driver would still work.

* If the firmware's a loaded bitstring, I can't build another device
  unless it also emulates execution of the firmware -- because
  somebody might change the firmware, and expect changed functionality.

In other words, if the firmware's in a box we can treat the whole box
as a hardware machine.  If the firmware's an exposed software blob, we
have to treat it like one and recognize the dependencies.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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