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

On Tue, Aug 29, 2006 at 04:50:45PM +0200, Reinhard Tartler wrote:
> Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> writes:
> >> Please note in this subthread, that Steve ist talking about ``device
> >> firmware'', whereas this subthread is talking about ``firmware'' in general.
> >
> > And note how the line blurs when you consider a peripheral firmware which is
> > using the same set of chips which would be also used in standalone devices.
> I don't think I really understand this sentence. I assume for now that
> you mean with ``peripheral firmware'' what Steve means with ``device
> firmware''. 
> Let me try to describe what you mean: Given a hardware device, which is
> commonly used as peripheral device for a computer system. This hardware
> device happens to have enough ram, rom and peripherial on its own, so
> that it could run as a ``standalone device''. In this case, you could
> make use of source of the sourceless ``device firmware'' in question for
> your own programms on the ``standalone device''.
> In case I'm right: WTF?! Can you please give me some concrete examples
> of devices which can be used both as ``peripherial'' as well as
> ``standalone''? 

Let's say i have a wireless chip, which includes a pci interface which can be
either host or device, a wireless interface to some antenas, an arm core, some
ram and flash.

This chip can be used to put the pci in device mode and make a pci add-in
card, or it could be used to put the pci in host mode, and connect a ethernet
port on it, and create a standalone wifi access point device, which is totally

The same (or similar) firmware would run on both cases, in the pci card
example, it would be a device firmware, while in the standalone device, the
firmware would be considered as a bios or generic firmware.

This is not a 100% real example, since i am not aware of a wireless chip with
a real pci interface, they usually come with some gpios, usb, or some kind of
serial interface, and you would need maybe a bit stronger core than those
chips usually use to act as access point, but it is not all that far from
reality, and we will assuredly see more of this kind of stuff in the years to

I hope this clarifies it for you ? 

Other examples are SATA or SCSI HW RAID device, like the AMCC/3WARE one, which
include a IO-processor which is in turn a powerpc 40x or 44x based core, which
you could turn into a standalone device all by itself. Or other HW RAID card
which use some kind of service processor from intel.


Sven Luther

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