Posted Mar 3, 2010 10:44 UTC (Wed) by mpr22
In reply to: Citation required
Parent article: Linux-2.6.33-libre released
I do believe that non-Free firmware hiding in otherwise Free operating systems is worse than non-Free firmware hiding in hardware, but that doesn't imply that the latter is fine.
Conversely, I think that "non-Free firmware hiding in otherwise Free operating systems", while certainly disagreeable, is an improvement-of-freedom relative to "non-Free firmware hiding in hardware", because it offers greater scope for remedying lack-of-freedom.
The lack of freedom in the former case can be remedied by replacing it with Free firmware, an operation which (essentially) only has to be done once to liberate everyone who uses that operating system with that device. Remedying the lack of freedom in the latter case, if possible at all, requires either buying a different device entirely, or doing something to each physical instance of the device whose owner is concerned by their lack of freedom which may (depending on the design) present a non-trivial hazard to the device's continued usability.
Power cut / brownout / system crash while you were reflashing your DVD drive? Better hope the manufacturer included a "recovery" firmware and brought its activation signal out to an accessible header.
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