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Re: LCC and blobs

On Tue, 28 Dec 2004, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> That said, or not, I do think there's a significant practical
> difference between firmware which ships as software, say on a CD
> accompanying the device, and firmware which ships on the device:
> * The firmware on the CD is typically not redistributable by the end
>   user.  Future users can't get it without somebody along the line
>   breaking a EULA.

That depends on the details of the particular firmware license.  If the
license says "you can give this to someone if it accompanies a transfer of
the device", then there's no practical difference between that and the
firmware being inside the device itself.

(Well, except if someone loses the CD, but all that really means is that the
device is more fragile than normal.)

> * 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.

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".

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

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?

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