Raspberry Pi VideoCore driver code released
Posted Oct 24, 2012 22:14 UTC (Wed) by pboddie
In reply to: Raspberry Pi VideoCore driver code released
Parent article: Raspberry Pi VideoCore driver code released
I hope that they do create such an option someday, simply so that we can get proof that all those people who whine about closed firmware won't actually pay more for something complient with their demands.
While I'm sure that some people would like to point the finger at anyone objecting to closed firmware and put one label on them all, there is by no means widespread acceptance of closed, immutable firmware within the FSF-supporting Free Software community, let alone the open hardware movement. Of course, I wouldn't put it past the Raspberry Pi people to do what you suggest, as it would be quite the marketing stunt and yet another opportunity to be condescending to people with reasonable concerns.
From what I've seen, quite a few people are baffled by the argument that closed, immutable firmware should be approved by the FSF and feel that it would be far better if the FSF extended its principles as far into hardware as possible. Here, the FSF is actually being kind of pragmatic: if the functioning of an otherwise fully interoperable device depended on a proprietary software stack to make it functional through the loading of firmware, then mandating that the firmware reside in some kind of non-volatile storage and not require "updates" to unlock functionality somewhat levels the playing field for systems that need to work with that device.
However, I feel that the FSF would be better off withholding approval, even if that meant never or rarely giving approval at all, than granting it on the basis of apparently counterintuitive or contradictory reasoning. After all, the FSF is meant to adopt moral positions that are not necessarily convenient but which express a direction in which things should be moving. Telling people that they have arrived at this moral destination, when one would really like them to go beyond it, is arguably counterproductive.
to post comments)