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Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 01:18:54 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

"amicus_curious" <> writes:

> "Hyman Rosen" <> wrote in message
> news:Paqfl.37276$aG1.13@newsfe25.iad...
>> amicus_curious wrote:
>>> They have a requirement to publish the source that they copied for
>> > free so that some router user might see it and be moved to improve it.
>> > That is kind of a laugh, I think.
>> They must make the source code available as required by its license
>> so that users of the software are free to run it, examine it, change
>> it, and share it. Whether and how users choose to avail themselves of
>> these freedoms is not relevant to honoring the terms of the license.
> It is still a joke.  What firmware or software have you personally
> ever bothered to examine, change, or share?  The whole idea is
> preposterous. 

I've exchanged the EPROMS of a home computer with a custom-made
application and I/O driver for an industrial spring measuring
application, written in target-compiled FORTH and some assembly.  ROM
listings and schematics were essential for that.

I've developed a networking solution for current-sense serial
connections that allowed diskless booting for process visualization
workstations.  This required quite a bit of reverse engineering that
would have been simplified by available source code.

I've debugged and fixed some binary extended memory drivers on DR/DOS
which broke my applications.  Again, a lot of ingenuity was required for
simplifying _assembly_ code in order to make room for the necessary
fixes.  The source would have made this much simpler since one would not
have had to create artificial room.

I have modified and adapted a terminal adapter for the graphics card on
my first personal computer, both hardware and software, so that the
terminal emulator made use of hardware scrolling by changing the frame
buffer start address (this could not have worked with the unmodified
hardware).  Had I not had access to the source code of the previously
existing graphics driver, this would not have been feasible.

That's just some of the stuff I did personally, but in today's networked
world it is much more important that _anybody_ who could be interested
in working on a problem can actually do so rather than that I personally
have this sort of access.  Somebody eventually will likely do the
honors, and everybody with the same problem reaps the benefits.

David Kastrup

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