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Re: LCC and blobs

Ken Arromdee <arromdee@rahul.net> writes:

>> * The firmware blob on CD, if free, can be easily modified by end
>>   users.  It's just software.  Even given the preferred form for
>>   modification, it's much more difficult to re-flash a firmware chip
>>   on hardware not designed for regular firmware uploads.

This was meant to be a demonstration that it's software, and so Debian
should care about it being free.

> But that's a strange reason to require that the firmware blob on CD be free.
> It's essentially saying "if you can make it hard to modify the firmware,
> you don't need to allow modifications at all".

As always, intent matters.

> Can a company release an encrypted CD, so that it's as difficult to modify the
> firmware on CD as it is in a chip, and then have it count as part of the
> hardware?

No, that's not hardware.  That's an encrypted CD.  That, and the DRM
approach below, are just various forms of non-free software.  The
difference with a chip on a card is not that it's difficult to modify,
but that it's not treatable as software!  I can't open it in Emacs, so
it isn't software.

> And what about firmware which gets checksummed by the device in such a way
> that you can modify the firmware but can't upload it?

Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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