NetBSD-Users archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Old Index]

Re: why NetBSD include binary/blob driver or firmware by default?

>>>>> "al" == Arnaud Lacombe <> writes:

    al> I'm sure every single device in your computer run firmware
    al> like the one you would like to go open source. [...]  The only
    al> difference is that it is not explicitly uploaded by the OS.

yes, you're right.  I misunderstood the issue when I talked about the
atheros HAL.  The OP had issue with manufacturers trying to save
component cost by not putting a ROM in their device.  In theory,
having the driver load firmware into RAM rather than leaving it in ROM
means they _could_ give the Windows driver special fancy
superfirmware, and give us crappy firmware, because it IS a
difference---with ROM the firmware's distributed with the physical
card, and you can get around any clickwrap they try to add by buying a
used, activated card on eBay, which is what commercial efforts trying
to legally reverse-engineer their competitors' products do.  while
with firmware loaded into RAM they can try to use their copyright
and/or a bunch of clickwrap bullshit to bind firmware releases
together with a specific host-CPU driver.

but in practice I've never heard of that happening.  The issue is
whether or not we get the firmware at all because sometimes we don't
get it, or we get it but with a silly license that makes it ponderous
and attention-greedy to distribute.

I think the OP is wrong to suggest deliberately crippling the
distribution of firmware with less attention-hungry licenses to be as
bad as the silly licenses, and you're right to point out there's way
too much inside the computer which is unfree but stored in ROM for
which he should complain at an equal level.

    al> You just cannot ask companies to go naked.

The fuck I can't!  I'll ask whatever I like, and there's reason to
give it to me.

    al> This has always and will always exist no matter what.

I doubt that it will forever be impossible to get a useful device
which contains no unfree firmware.

but, if an SoC or cheapo-laptop or some device comes out making a
point by including full sources and free software build tools for all
the firmware and microcode, and maybe even some FPGA source too, then
it'll probably be a Linux device.  BSD people seem, not all of them
but more of them than Linux people, the ``I don't care about politics.
I just want to get work done,'' last-jews-in-fascist-Germany sort
that's apt to collaborate with oppressive regimes and apologize for
their enemies to avoid argument.  Or even criminals: more apt to
download osx86 torrents than to buy a ralink chip instead of atheros
to avoid the HAL.  When I say mac os x is not free software, one of
them on NYCBUG list got really belligerent and ad-hominem, and when I
say copyright violation is not the part of BSD's history I'd most like
to preserve they say, it works for me and this discussion is over.  I
think no one would defend such a poster on a Linux list.  A Linux list
is more likely to argue whether or not to keep accepting Linus's
``interpretation'' of the GPL as being LGPL-equivalent when it comes
to kernel modules.  Probably these ``I don't care about politics''
people do get a LOT more work done that way, but Linux zealots do not
scream about politics without good reason, either.  And unfortunately
the way things are panning out I'm starting to feel like either you're
with us or you're against us.

Attachment: pgpz4Ye1I3Sl_.pgp
Description: PGP signature

Home | Main Index | Thread Index | Old Index