Resolved: firmware is not software
Posted Aug 24, 2006 21:18 UTC (Thu) by mikov
Parent article: Resolved: firmware is not software
From my point of view, insisting that device firmware must be open source seems a little like fanatism - it can only hurt everybody in the long run by creating artificial problems and conflicts.
Even if a hardware manufacturer was willing to open the source for their firmware, there probably wouldn't be tools for Linux to compile it. The "firmware" could in fact be an FPGA image. As far as I know, there isn't a Xilinx compiler for Linux, let alone a free open-source Xilinx compiler for Linux. It is unfair and unproductive to punish the hardware manufacturer, and more importantly the users, for that.
Further on, the "solution" to separate the firmware blobs from the kernel by moving them in user space strikes me as very hypocritical if it is done only for ideological reasons. Nothing really changes - who cares whether the blob is linked with the kernel or not. "Linking" inside the kernel does not create a magical bond between the blob and the kernel. The precise method for uploading the blob into the device is a very minor technical detail.
to post comments)