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

Ken Arromdee <arromdee@rahul.net> writes:

> On Mon, 25 Oct 2004, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
>> >> > The person who has the device doesn't neceessarily have the firmware, because
>> >> > the firmware can be removed.
>> >> The person doesn't have the device at that point -- only part of it.
>> > The same reasoning applies for both examples if you refer to the combination of
>> > hardware plus CD as a "device".
>> But that imagined device is broken: it needs another component to read
>> the CD, load the firmware off of it into the computer's memory,
>> process it there, then upload that to the device itself.
> Then by the same reasoning the all-hardware device is broken too.  It needs
> "another component" (driver) to function.  Neither the version with the CD
> nor the version with the eeprom will function by themselves.

OK, so there's a dependency on the driver.  When Debian starts
shipping hardware, I promise I'll make sure the hardware has a Depends
line pointing at the driver.

> Modifying software stored in an eeprom involves some sort of copying that
> cutting a book in half doesn't, and therefore is prohibited under copyright
> law.

I can also scribble in a book, or apply voltages to this hardware
device here.

> There's no difference between the CD and the eeprom here.

Then why is there a difference between a firmware-in-prom device and a
firmware-in-fixed-circuit device?


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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