Re: Alteon NIC firmware
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Jonathan Nieder had
to walk into mine at 19:53:42 on Saturday 01 October 2011 and say:
> (please direct followups to email@example.com)
> Hi Jamie,
> Jamie Lokier wrote:
> > Indexing was turned off. They are all readable now.
> Thanks for fixing it.
> > The tools etc. were originally collected for a custom firmware
> > projects (it was a popular board for that), and I decided to host them
> > because Alteon were shutting down, and as a general principle of
> > keeping source around.
> > I'm not sure if the license would satisfy DFSG. It's pretty open as
> > these things go.
> Yes, looking over  and , I'm impressed. The work was
> refreshingly public.
> Do I understand correctly that the original Software the license
> agreement is talking about is what I can find as
> 0c793d90688379bcb135cc1e6f5ea7cad4c2f13e opendrv.tar.gz
> cbe58dcc0e470f161697b31b4b63e136b244eb6f openfw.tar.gz
> at <http://people.freebsd.org/~wpaul/Alteon/>? (Thanks, Bill!)
Yes, those files (as well as the pcinic.pdf and tigonbk.pdf documents) are
exactly as I downloaded them from the Alteon web site, 11 years ago (wow -- I
can't believe it's been that long). I'm the one who clicked "OK" on the
agreement form to obtain them. Those are the last versions provided by Alteon
before they ceased to be a going concern: shortly after Broadcom acquired
them, the openkits web page was shut down. In the time since, Broadcom has
never said anything to me about the files. I would be very surprised if they
As an aside, I was a bit confused about the ultimate fate of the Alteon Tigon
intellectual property. For a while, 3Com was selling gigE NICs using the
"Tigon III" BCM5700 and BCM5701 chips, with a brand on them that said "3Com-
Broadcom Technology Alliance." I don't know if this means that 3Com and
Broadcom had joint ownership (temporarily or otherwise), or if 3Com just had
an unusually broad license to use the BCM57xx chips on their cards. Whatever
the case, the alliance didn't last long.
Anyway, the original files from Alteon came with pre-built object code for the
Tigon I and Tigon II. They never released the source for the Tigon I, claiming
it needed to be cleaned up before it would be suitable for public release. The
Tigon II was much more widely used than the Tigon I though so most people
didn't really mind. I compiled my own Tigon II images from the source and used
those in the FreeBSD driver releases. The version currently shipping with
FreeBSD has some tweaks in it that were added by the maintainer who took
development of the ti(4) driver after I left the project.
The fw.tar.gz file is a snapshot of my firmware build environment for FreeBSD,
which includes the openfw source and binaries that I built, along with the
source and binaries for gcc 2.7.2 and the matching binutils, with the Alteon-
supplied patches applied. The object code that I built was the same as the
object code included in the download -- I wanted to compile the code myself as
a sanity check (and to see if I could do it).
There is some question in my mind though as to what exactly constitutes an
"ALTEON network card." The Tigon II chip pretty much constitutes the entire
card (generally the only other major component would be some external SRAM).
The fact that some other vendor marketed the card under their name (e.g.
Netgear) doesn't change the fact that it's still an Alteon device. I think the
real intent was to prevent a competing 3rd party chip maker from creating
their own NIC hardware and using some of the Alteon firmware with it, as
opposed to using the firmware with genuine Alteon chips on OEMed cards. (It
was not always obvious that OEMed cards used Alteon hardware because the chip
was obscured by a heat sink.) That was my interpretation anyway. I figured
Alteon would make money in any case since they were in the business of selling
chips, whether directly on their own ACEnic cards or via OEMs.
In any case, I haven't thought about this stuff in years. Like I said, I don't
think Broadcom is interested or they would have made a fuss over it by now.
> Then my only potential worry re provenance would be files copyrighted
> by someone other than Alteon, such as:
> FILE trace.c
> COPYRIGHT (c) Essential Communication Corp. 1995
> FILE timer.c
> COPYRIGHT (c) Essential Communication Corp. 1995
> (and likewise for recv.h, proto.h, nic.h, and so on). Essential
> Communication, Corp seems to have been bought by ODS Networks, Inc in
> 1998. In 2000, ODS Networks started marketing an intrusion
> detection system and changed its name to Intrusion.com, Inc, and in
> 2001 it changed names again to Instrusion, Inc to avoid the .com
> bust. In 2002, SBS Technologies bought Essential's copyrights and
> employees from Intrusion, Inc. In 2006, GE bought SBS
> Technologies; the relevant division of GE seems to be called "GE
> Intelligent Platforms". It's possible someone at GE could clarify
> whether Alteon had the right to distribute, modify, and relicense this
> code. Anyway, I suspect it's ok.
> Here are the terms from  for reference:
> | SOFTWARE DRIVER DEVELOPMENT CODE LICENSE AGREEMENT
> | AT ABSOLUTELY NO COST,
> | Alteon WebSystems, INC. ("ALTEON"), IS WILLING TO LICENSE
> | THE SOFTWARE DRIVER DEVELOPMENT CODE,
> | INCLUDING ANY SAMPLE FIRMWARE FOR ALTEON NETWORK INTERFACE CARDS
> | AND ADAPTERS INCLUDED THEREIN, AND THE ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENTATION
> | (COLLECTIVELY, THE "SOFTWARE") TO YOU
> | ONLY ON THE CONDITION THAT YOU ACCEPT
> | ALL OF THE TERMS IN THIS AGREEMENT.
> Well, I accept the terms in this agreement, so that should be fine
> as long as those terms will allow distribution through a typical
> mirrored software repository. Reading on:
> | 1. LICENSE. Alteon grants you a limited, non-transferable, non-exclusive,
> | perpetual license to use, execute and compile the Software solely for
> | the purpose of creating, testing and providing software programs
> | (herein, the "Authorized Drivers") for use with ALTEON ACEnic adapters
> | and ALTEON network cards. You may copy the Software and may publicly
> | display the source code of any Authorized Driver in educational
> | journals and periodicals; provided that you reproduce all applicable
> | copyright and other proprietary notices that are contained within the
> | original copy of the Software. You may license the object code of an
> | Authorized Driver, including the Software contained therein; provided
> | that such Authorized Driver is restricted to use solely with ALTEON
> | ACEnic adapters and ALTEON network cards. Except as expressly provided
> | for in this Agreement, you may not use, copy, modify, or transfer the
> | Software, or any copy thereof, in whole or in part.
> | 2. OWNERSHIP. The Software is licensed to you for use only under the
> | terms of this Agreement, and ALTEON reserves all rights not expressly
> | granted to you. You will own any Authorized Drivers created by you,
> | subject to ALTEON'S ownership of the underlying Software.
> | 3. TERM. This Agreement will terminate immediately upon notice to you if
> | you materially breach any term or condition of this Agreement. You
> | agree upon termination to promptly destroy the Software and all copies
> | thereof.
> | 4. WARRANTY DISCLAIMER. The Software is provided to you on as "AS IS"
> | basis. ALTEON AND ITS SUPPLIERS EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ALL OTHER
> | WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS INCLUDING THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR
> | CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE
> | AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. NO ORAL OR WRITTEN INFORMATION OR ADVICE GIVEN
> | BY ALTEON, ITS EMPLOYEES, DISTRIBUTORS, DEALERS, OR AGENTS SHALL
> | INCREASE THE SCOPE OF THE ABOVE WARRANTIES OR CREATE ANY NEW
> | WARRANTIES.
> | 5. LIMITATION OF REMEDIES. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER ANY REMEDY SET FORTH
> | HEREIN FAILS OF ITS ESSENTIAL PURPOSE OR OTHERWISE, IN NO EVENT WILL
> | ALTEON OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE TO YOU OR TO ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY
> | LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, INTERRUPTION OF BUSINESS, OR OTHER SPECIAL,
> | INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OF ANY KIND ARISING OUT
> | OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE SOFTWARE OR ANY DATA SUPPLIED
> | THEREWITH, OR FROM THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE ANY AUTHORIZED DRIVERS
> | DEVELOPED BY YOU, EVEN IF ALTEON HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY
> | OF SUCH LOSS OR DAMAGE AND WHETHER OR NOT SUCH LOSS OR DAMAGES ARE
> | FORESEEABLE. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE LIABILITY OF ALTEON OR ITS
> | SUPPLIERS IN CONNECTION WITH THIS AGREEMENT OR THE SOFTWARE EXCEED
> | FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($500.00), REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE OF ACTION.
> | 6. GOVERNMENT END USER RIGHTS. The Software is provided with restricted
> | rights.
> | GOVERNMENT RIGHTS LEGEND
> | The Software is a "commercial item" as that term is defined at 48
> | C.F.R. 2.101 (OCT 1995), consisting of "commercial computer software"
> | and "commercial computer software documentation" as such terms are
> | used in 48 C.F.R. 12.212 (SEPT 1995). Consistent with 48 C.F.R. 12.212
> | and 48 C.F.R. 227.7202-1 through 227.7202-4
> | (JUNE 1995), all U.S. Government End Users acquire the Software
> | with only those rights set forth herein.
> | 7. EXPORT LAW. The Software and related technology are subject to U.S.
> | export control laws and may be subject to export or import regulations
> | in other countries. You agree to strictly comply with all such laws
> | and regulations and acknowledge that you have the responsibility to
> | obtain such licenses to export, re-export or import as may be
> | required. By downloading the Software, you agree to strictly comply
> | with all of the United States and other applicable country laws and
> | regulations when either exporting or re-exporting or importing this
> | software or any underlying information or technology.
> | 8. GENERAL. This Agreement will be governed by the laws of the State of
> | California, without regard to or application of conflicts of law rules
> | or principles. If any provision of this Agreement is held to be
> | unenforceable, that provision will be removed and the remaining
> | provisions will remain in full force. This Agreement is the complete
> | and exclusive statement of the agreement between us which supersedes
> | any proposal or prior agreement, oral or written, and any other
> | communications between us in relation to the subject matter of this
> | Agreement. If you have any questions concerning this Agreement, you
> | may contact ALTEON by writing to Alteon WebSystems, INC., 50 Great
> | Oaks Boulevard, San Jose, California 95119 or by calling (408)
> | 360-5500.
> | THE SOFTWARE AND ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENTATION ARE PROTECTED BY UNITED
> | STATES COPYRIGHT LAW AND INTERNATIONAL TREATY. UNAUTHORIZED
> | REPRODUCTION OR DISTRIBUTION IS SUBJECT TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL
> | PENALTIES.
> The relevant permission is in clause 1:
> You may license the object code of an Authorized Driver,
> including the Software contained therein; provided that such
> Authorized Driver is restricted to use solely with ALTEON
> ACEnic adapters and ALTEON network cards.
> where "Authorized Driver" is defined as
> software programs [...] for use with ALTEON ACEnic adapters
> and ALTEON network cards
> If I understand correctly, this means that it is likely that Debian
> and FreeBSD mirrors and similar projects can distribute the object
> code. The terms for source code, on the other hand, are earlier in
> that clause and unfortunately I don't think they are likely to work
> well here.
> | BY CLICKING ON THE "ACCEPT" BUTTON YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ
> | THIS AGREEMENT, UNDERSTAND IT AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY ITS TERMS AND
> | CONDITIONS.
> Contrary to the conclusion of some in Bug#284221, the above
> paragraph seems to be about the person downloading the source today,
> not the person using the object code tomorrow, and thus not to be too
> Corrections welcome, of course. What a mess.
> Thanks to all for your work.
> ivers.html 
> .shtml  http://business.globe24h.com/sec/001/11/111000/0000111819.shtml
> e.asp?ticker=INTZ:US 
> 4-02-005596-index.htm  http://www.ge-ip.com/news-events/detail/488
>  http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.debian.devel.kernel/5087
-Bill Paul (510) 749-2329 | Member of Technical Staff,
firstname.lastname@example.org | Master of Unix-Fu - Wind River Systems
"I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed." - George Carlin