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Consider smart fish, and scenarios in which one fish sees another going for a piece of food, that may or may not be bait around a hook.
1. the first fish knows it's bait around a hook, or in a trap
1.a) the first fish says there, go for it!
1.b) the first fish gets in the way and says hey, that's bait, you'll get trapped, you sure you want to?, so the other fish, if still decided to take the bait, has to take a detour to get to it
2. the first fish can't tell whether there's a hook or a trap, so it says nothing and doesn't stand in the way
FSFLA: Linux kernel is "open core"
Posted Nov 12, 2010 4:44 UTC (Fri) by chad.netzer (✭ supporter ✭, #4257)
Or better yet, drop the analogies, since we aren't children; this is our field, we basically understand the scenario. Are cellphone technology providers to be chastised for "baiting" me into use one, while not providing free/libre firmware (even if the the OS is free), or are they to be thanked for allowing people to be able to call an ambulance when they are having a heart attack on a camping trip? I'll take the freedom to survive in that scenario.
If the firmware blobs are a copyright problem, by all means say so plainly. But to state that the Linux developers have set a trap for users, is low.
Posted Nov 12, 2010 4:56 UTC (Fri) by lxoliva (subscriber, #40702)
I'm not concerned with the copyriht issues. They're just a distraction. Even if there was no copyright issue whatsoever, the blobs would still be non-Free Software (i.e., software that deprives users of their four essential software freedoms), and inducing people to accept them is socially harmful practice that proponents of software freedom had better not engage in.
Posted Nov 12, 2010 6:45 UTC (Fri) by chad.netzer (✭ supporter ✭, #4257)
Posted Nov 12, 2010 7:28 UTC (Fri) by lxoliva (subscriber, #40702)
The blobs we're talking about contain machine instructions that run on actual computers. Many of them are regularly modified fixing errors or even adding features. Some implement anti-features. You remember when Linux fit in a single floppy disk, and with a couple of floppy disks you could have an entire functional Free GNU+Linux operating system? Some of the blobs we're facing these days wouldn't fit in one of those floppy disks! They're entire operating systems for the computers hiding inside our computers, often hiding from you their true power.
Please help us (re)conquer freedom in that field! Don't let the expanding meaning of firmware fool you.
Posted Nov 12, 2010 8:09 UTC (Fri) by chad.netzer (✭ supporter ✭, #4257)
Whatever. You don't appear to be responding to my points. Fair enough. A campaign to publicize the problems with binary code in the form of firmware blobs is perhaps a good one. But the way you go about it seems all wrong to me. It's kind of like PETA. A core part of their message (let's treat animals humanely) is pretty sane and agreeable. And yet they go about promoting it like complete dicks. I've stopped being a strict vegetarian, in very small part, because I didn't wanna end up like those kooks. I hope the same doesn't happen to my attitudes about Free Software...
Posted Nov 12, 2010 18:35 UTC (Fri) by lxoliva (subscriber, #40702)
Because the register file interface is hardly enough to write the software to run on the embedded computer, but it would likely be plenty to configure a device whose firmware is just configuration data.
Now, perhaps the VHDL description would be desirable to have, but if the embedded device contains a general-purpose programmable computer, having a description of its ISA would come in handier than the VHDL description for the purposes of writing the software to run on it.
Thanks for your apparent support to the campaign. If you can find better ways to spread the message, by all means go for it, and be sure to let us know!
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