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Re: LCC and blobs

Brian Thomas Sniffen writes:

> Matthew Garrett <mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk> writes:
> > Brian Thomas Sniffen <bts@alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> >> Michael Poole <mdpoole@troilus.org> writes:
> >>> Lots of people cannot write or modify C code, but we accept as free
> >>> many programs that include C code.  The user being inexpert in some
> >>> technique does not render a thing non-free.
> >> 
> >> But something being *not software* does render it *not software*.
> >
> > dd if=/dev/mem of=/tmp/bios bs=1k skip=960 count=64
> >
> > will happily present you with a copy of your system firmware (assuming
> > you're on x86). If you run ndisasm over it, you'll find it's x86 machine
> > code. You can even extract bits of it and run them. It looks awfully
> > like software. The fact that you lack the skills to turn it into
> > something that you recognise as software doesn't mean it isn't software.
> And putting a paper copy into a good scanner will transform a printout
> of a program into software.  The fact that something has a two-way
> conversion to software doesn't make it software.  I've asked several
> times for a delineation, in the world where anything convertible to
> software is software, between what is software and what is not.  I
> have yet to read such.

Paper is not analogous to a BIOS, and your question is neither useful
nor pertinent.  Almost everything in the world can be represented
using some digital representation.  However, the DFSG does not mention
"things convertible to software" -- it mentions "software."

A BIOS is normally stored in binary form as executable or
interpretable code plus associated data.  Most people would call
executable code in binary form "software;" Debian uses a broader
definition than that.  The real question is why you think that
executable binary data is not software.

Michael Poole

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