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Re: Proposal: The DFSG do not require source code for data, including firmware

On Tue, Aug 29, 2006 at 10:07:55PM +0100, Mark Brown wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 29, 2006 at 03:07:11PM +0200, Sven Luther wrote:
> > On Tue, Aug 29, 2006 at 11:00:44PM +1000, Hamish Moffatt wrote:
> > > To those who consider ROM-less hardware cheap and nasty I suggest the
> > > opposite is true. I design hardware (FPGAs) professionally for expensive 
> > > communications equipment. We avoid ROMs as much as possible, because
> > > they are difficult to upgrade reliably and they are a waste of money.
> > Do you consider FPGA config files as programs, or would you say that the
> > normal DFSG requirement for source applies to those also in order to be
> > considered fit for debian/main ? 
> > I am interested in your profesional opinion on this, since you clearly seem to
> > either be, or in close contact to someone who is, an upstream author of such
> > firmwares.
> Speaking as someone with experience of the software rather than hardware
> side of this I'd call FPGA images hardware.  From the point of view of
> working with it it looks very much like hardware.  That's just my
> opinion, though.

Well, but it is stuff with sources. You could argue that actual hardware also
has sources (the design document, schematics and routing files) though.

> I'd also observe that newer FPGA chips often feature encryption support:
> the hardware has a secret key blown into it during manufacturing which
> must be used when building FPGA images to be loaded onto the hardware.



Sven Luther

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