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Re: firmware status for eagle-usb-*

On Thu, Oct 28, 2004 at 08:52:36AM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
> In both the network protocol cases and the unwritable format cases, if
> you do not have appropriate non-Debian software, neither the hardware
> nor the client (software) do anything useful.  I am not convinced that
> the data being transferred is relevant to the dependency relationship,
> in part because different firmwares -- or even different hardware --
> may implement the necessary interface.

I don't follow this logic.  If you don't have the appropriate piece of
extra software (firmware, bytecode, pieces of AIM.EXE), the client doesn't
do anything useful.  That's "contrib" in a nutshell, as far as I understand

It's true that different firmwares (or bytecodes, or pieces) might satisfy
this, but all that's important is whether there exist at least one of
them which is free and in main.  If they're all free, the existance of
several non-free alternatives doesn't change anything.

This doesn't extend to the "unwritable format" case, because being able
to read a file format is useful in and of itself, even if you can't write
it (and presumably the software reads and write other formats).

> One IM protocol (AIM, if memory serves) asked the client to send a
> randomly selected region of the official AIM client, and if the
> response did not match, rejected the client.  I suspect this was so
> the provider could file copyright infringement claims against people
> who made compatible clients.  I am not sure whether they still do
> this, but AOL has apparently done other things[1] that resemble that.
> The big "non-free" IM providers each put significant effort into
> blocking unauthorized or all third-party clients.

That's the case I was thinking of, but I used the "functional bytecode"
case to draw a closer parallel to the firmware case.

It does make me curious what the AIM situation is today: I'm assuming
the current clients work out-of-the-box, without making you download
AIM and stick it somewhere before it works.  (My Windows client, Trillian,
does, too.)  If they dropped this particular approach, it makes me
wonder why ...

Glenn Maynard

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