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Resolved: firmware is not software

Resolved: firmware is not software

Posted Aug 24, 2006 20:02 UTC (Thu) by caitlinbestler (subscriber, #32532)
Parent article: Resolved: firmware is not software

Firmware is software, but it is for a different machine.

Nobody would suggest that a GPL DHCP server was forbidden
to provide boot instructions to a machine unless that machine
was also booting a GPL OS.

Devices that require firmware are peers that are being
bootstrapped. They are not part of the kernel.


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Resolved: firmware is not software

Posted Aug 30, 2006 22:54 UTC (Wed) by Ross (guest, #4065) [Link]

But in your analogy the DHCP server would also have a copy of the non-Free OS and transfer it via TFTP. Nobody would say that all the software on that server was Free anymore... at least I don't see how.

Resolved: firmware is not software

Posted Aug 30, 2006 23:35 UTC (Wed) by caitlinbestler (subscriber, #32532) [Link]

Freedom is supposed to enable users.

Requiring that a Free OS only interoperate with
other Free OSs would be a hideous violation of
the underlying concept of the Internet.

The point is that the other machine is a different
work. The GPL software is supposed to be able
to interoperate with it.

If a device with firmware in ROM is a different
work, then it should not lose its unique identity
merely because it bootstraps its firmware instead.
Any more than a remote machine loses its independent
status when it uses DHCP.


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