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Re: [gNewSense-users] Firmware - out of the kernel but still in the hard
Re: [gNewSense-users] Firmware - out of the kernel but still in the hardware?
Sun, 05 Nov 2006 23:54:52 -0600
Thunderbird 22.214.171.124 (X11/20061027)
Dennis Kibbe wrote:
For example, the Intel 2200 chipset doesn't work with gNewSense because
of firmware blobs missing from /lib/firmware. The Netgear MA-401 PCMCIA
card does work, but isn't that just because the firmware is in the
chipset in the card instead of in the kernel?
If that's the case then the end result is the same, isn't it?
I find RMS' argument on this to be well-reasoned. I'll try and
summarize it: it's not the same situation if the Netgear card you name
doesn't support uploading new software. If the Netgear card has ROM on
it holding this code and the code on that ROM can't be changed by
uploading new software to it, then the Netgear card might as well use
circuitry to do what that ROM does.
On the other hand, the Intel card you name supports uploading different
software to it, therefore it's the same situation as a general-purpose
computer running different programs as far as software freedom goes.
One could, theoretically, spend the time reverse-engineering the
software for the Intel card and upload different software, fixing bugs,
adding features, etc. This makes the Intel card more versatile but
non-free until we get free software to send to it.