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Re: LCC and blobs

Måns Rullgård <mru@inprovide.com> writes:

> Brian Thomas Sniffen <bts@alum.mit.edu> writes:
>> Anthony DeRobertis <anthony@derobert.net> writes:
>>> Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
>>>> That's not software.  That's firmware, at best -- you can look at it
>>>> as software, but then you don't get to distribute any drivers.  It is
>>>> also internally consistent to think of chips as hardware and
>>>> distribute drivers appropriately.  It is never consistent to think of
>>>> files on disk as anything but software.
>>> Hmmm, I have a CF card. Upon it are files, and in every meaningful way
>>> it is a disk. Therefor, that data is software.
>>> Yet, CF is actually chips --- often the same chips as used to hold
>>> firmware distributed with hardware. Thus, it's all hardware.
>> Sure.  It's on a medium for software exchange, thus it's software.  If
>> it were an integral component of a device, it'd be hardware.
> If it is glued to the socket, does it become hardware?

Is what hardware?  The card always was: a physical device which
happened to be a medium for software exchange.  The bits on the card?
I figure they're software as much as the bits on my hard drive are;
it's essentially glued into the case.

>> I've never been confused when looking at such things; the closest
>> case I've found to confusing is the MP3 player, which has its OS on
>> disk.  I'm inclined to say that it's software to the MP3 player, an
>> architecture which Debian does not support.  It's hardware, a drive,
>> to the (Intel?) Debian-supported PC to which it's connected.
> Why is this different from the SCSI controller board, whose CPU (and
> related components) is also an architecture not supported by Debian?
> Does it matter whether it connects to the PC by the PCI bus directly,
> or over USB?

No; how is such a controller board handled in Debian today?  Does it
have a driver on disk?  Firmware loaded from disk?  My poor
understanding, to which I would appreciate correction, is that we ship
drivers in the kernel, and the firmware is somewhere in the hardware I
bought from Dell.  So Debian's shipping free software, which depends
only on hardware with a clean interface.  That's no problem, is it?


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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