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Re: Proposal - Deferment of Changes from GR 2004-003


On 29 Apr 2004, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> > The firmware is a detached part of the connected hardware, nothing more.
> > The loading process just reconnects this part so that the hardware can
> > work.
> I am confused.  When I purchase the hardware, why do I not get this,
> since it is after all "part of the connected hardware"?

You can get it in the driver disk. Unfortunately most vendors only
distribute the m$ version of the driver which injects the firmware -
sometimes in one single binary.

> It looks for all the world like it's a piece of software that the hardware vendor
> has written, and asked the OS distributor to publish for them.

Well, It is a hardware-embedded software. The difference is not 
software/hardware, it is a matter of where the piece of code is executed.
The firmware is never executed in the machine. Never executed on the OS, 
but on the hardware, which is not "free". You do not have to recompile the
firmware, whatever the environment is. That's why firmwares were tolerated
in the kernel, following Linus's thoughts.

The question is: is software meaning "any turing-machine-derivated data",
or "binary code executed on the machine where Debian is installed" ?

In the second case, firmwres can be tolerated (this is a compromise, as
we use 'proprietary hardware').
In the first one, all 'intelligent' data, such as postscript
files, firmwares, fonts, and so on.. are included.

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