[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

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

On Mon, Aug 28, 2006 at 02:26:42PM -0700, Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:
> Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> writes:
> > Notice that the bios or other firmware used on most machines today is also
> > refered as firmware. The original definition is, i believe, any kind of code
> > provided by the vendor of said device, and on which he has full control, so
> > firmware was non-free by definition originally.
> How does the vendor of a device have "full control" over what firmware
> I choose to load into it?

Maybe bad phrasing.

The idea is that the firmware is all the software and other softwarish
information which the vendor provides to make use of the board he sells you.

He has full control of it, in the sense that it is often binary only, and that
he produces it, and not some third party (like the operating system vendor).
Also, i believe that modifying the firmware, like you propose, usually voids
the waranty.

The main definition would be something like :

  all software support part that comes from the hardware vendor, to enable or
  drive or whatever the hardware he sells you, and which is not part of the
  operating system.

Drivers don't fall in this category because it is part of the operating
system, but the bios, and other such do.

/me does firmware writing for living. I am also investigating going into
hardware manufacturing, and preferably in hardware with full free firmware,
but having to deal with the chip vendors, i can guarantee you that this is not
an easy thing to do, especially for those wireless and bluetooth and whatever
chips out there, where the primary market are cell phones, and even high
volume pc markets are only a drop of water in comparison.


Sven Luther

Reply to: