safety-critical systems can use ROM
Posted Oct 18, 2006 6:13 UTC (Wed) by bignose
In reply to: safety-critical systems can use ROM
Parent article: FSF should separate GPLv3 changes (Linux.com)
> Every piece of software has bugs.
Yes. And what the vendor considers a "bug" isn't always what the user considers a "bug". A user in legal possession of a device should be the one that decides whether a bug fix goes into the device or not.
> Once you make it a ROM, you can't easily fix it. On the other hand, a
> DRM enabled piece of hardware can always receive a bug-fixed
> non-modifiable binary quite easily.
No. It can only receive bug fixes from *one* place -- the holder of the secrets that allow the modified software to run. The GPL is designed *explicitly* to allow the user to have this power, so that if the software is modifiable at all, they can choose bug fixes and improvements from any available source.
Consider: in a great deal of embedded systems, many things the vendor wants to "fix" as bugs are actually features that the user wants to remain in the software. The GPL is designed so that the vendor can't be the only one to have that freedom.
And, of course, if they don't want their users to have that freedom, vendors are not forced to choose software under GPL at all. The goal here is to increase the amount of software with guaranteed user freedoms, so that it becomes less and less economically viable to avoid giving those freedoms to user. But if a vendor really want to write software without using GPLed sources to restrict user freedoms, they can pay that ongoing cost.
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