[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 Tue, Aug 29, 2006 at 05:49:47PM +0200, Reinhard Tartler wrote:
> Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> writes:
> > 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.
> >
> > [explanations snipped]
> > 
> > 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 below:
> > 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.
> I'm not sure if its clear, but I think this discussion is about device
> firmware for hardware which (given existance) can be used in multiple
> operational modes. Honestly, I find this rather hypothetic (maybe quite
> academic) and I don't feel that this is what Steve is talking
> about. Perhaps to wording can be fixed for that.

Well, i am dealing with a wireless chip that can be used in a similar case
right now, thus the example, and like said, the wireless situation is way
worse than the disk controller or ethernet driver one.

> The 2nd example you give is a bit different and hits way better what
> Steve had in mind: These peripherials (well, better controllers for
> peripherials but I don't think this matters here) are using non-free
> software (device firmware) which is in turn used by free software, like
> a debian operating system. I don't think that anyone here seriously
> doesn't consider this as what we commongly call ``program''. The

I wouldn't bet on this. The amount of : "firmware are just data" claims in
this issue is rather important.

> relevant part is this:
> >>        4. determines that for the purposes of DFSG #2, device
> >> firmware shall also not be considered a program.
> I as non native speaker understand that as this: "We of course consider
> device firmware as programs in general. It is just that for some
> hardware devices, additional non-free software is needed so that our
> free software (both applications and device drivers) can be used on this
> kind of hardware. As we want to serve both of our users and spreading
> beautiful and usable free software, for some cases [1] we accept that
> our free software is using some non-free programs on our
> (peripherial/controlling) devices. For these hardware devices, we
> support our users and the free software movement by providing them the
> needed ``device firmware''. We therefore make the clarification that for
> the purposes of DFSG #2 we special case ``device firmware'' so that for
> this specific issue, ``device firmware'' is not considered as a
> program."

Yeah, but then way not say it clearly, and say that we will make an DFSG
exception for firmware, independently of them being programs or not.

> There are some variations on this which set a limit "until we have
> better infrastructure to separate non-free ``device firmware'' from the
> kernel and the installer.
> Please note that I'm not really decided on this matter. This mail may
> sound biased. If it is, I'm sorry. I really don't know yet what I would
> vote (if I was allowed to vote, of course). In fact, I'd love to see
> some better rationale for the quoted point (#4) of the proposed amendment.

I think the rationale behind it is : We want to keep the firmware in main, so
we say they are not program.

> [1] the case that there we don't have free access to the sources of the
> ``device firmware''


Sven Luther

Reply to: