Licence text and fabs
Posted Oct 2, 2006 22:21 UTC (Mon) by stevenj
In reply to: Licence text and fabs
Parent article: Busy busy busybox
If a hardware maker decides to put a "virtual ROM" on his box and sell the hardware in such a restricted form so that it will only run kernels that match a certain hash (besides putting the hardware into a 10"x10" sealed, translucent plastic cube and painting it purple), what does the hash check in the hardware have to do with any source code?
That's a bad example, because that's not forbidden by the GPLv3. Making the hardware look at, say, the MD5 hash of the kernel before running it does not require any secret encryption keys.
The basic principle is simple: if the hardware manufacturer can modify the software in the user's box (as opposed to building a new box), then the user should be able to also. This principle explains why the FSF didn't consider any of your other examples like forbidding boxes without screwdrivers (or boxes painted purple??), since in that case the hardware manufacturer can't do anything the user can't.
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