safety-critical systems can use ROM
Posted Oct 18, 2006 23:12 UTC (Wed) by bojan
In reply to: safety-critical systems can use ROM
Parent article: FSF should separate GPLv3 changes (Linux.com)
> GPLv3 says that DRM isn't an option, so the phone maker will have to go with ROM or a lump of plastic. The effects on phone buyers is the same.
I don't think it's the same. Manufacturers prefer options that are cheap, because consumers prefer to buy cheaper products. In a mass production scenario (and all "consumer" devices are such), the emphasis is low cost. Putting yet another protection mechanism in place increases the cost and complexity for the manufacturer, not to mention reduces flexibility with the ROM option. Instead, they can use this money to purchase proprietary software that doesn't have the "restrictions" that this hypothetical GPLv3 software has. And they get where they want to go with less hassle.
The other player here, of course, is the mobile phone (or other service type) company providing the service. They may be inclined to like manufacturers of "flexible" but "locked" phones better than the ones that need physical intervention in case something goes wrong. After all, the user has a contract that defines conditions of entry to the network. The "locked" software here provides a convenient way for the service provider to have an easy upgrade path (in case of errors in software, changed regulation, changed contract conditions etc.), while having reasonably difficult to "hack" technical measures in place against potential disruptions on the network by users modifying devices in order to go around contract conditions.
We need to understand that it's not going to be engineers making those decisions. It's going to be accountants. The end effect would most likely be that such software would not be used in such devices. Whether this is good or bad for FOSS remains to be seen.
to post comments)