proprietary firmware

Steven Kurylo sk at
Sat Feb 9 01:08:30 CET 2008

> btw: you *never* know exactly what's going on on your device, because you
> never can trust in (LSI-)chip design, which usually isn't "open source". If
> you want to know, you have to observe from outside the system.  Do you know
> what your BIOS is doing? Sure not! Do you demand it to be coded "userspace"
> FOSS therefore? It can't be done.

Thats what the linux bios project is for.  So yes, I want as much FOSS
as possible.  One day I'd like to see the entire stack open.

> You always have a hardware API somewhere,
> and you may not see what's behind. So you have to do a tradeoff between total
> transparency and potential risk arising from an opaque subsystem. I don't
> want to know how 802.11b protocol is handled in the wlan-chip. I want to have
> a powerfull bugfree API for the subsystem.

In a Free software world, we do want to know.  For various reasons,
one of which is because there is no "powerful bugfree API".  They'll
be bugs and we (as in the Free software community) can fix them; I
don't want to be at the mercy of some random company.  Of course you
don't need to know anything about 802.11b.  I don't know anything
about scsi drivers either.  But someone else does and I use the Free
API to write things to my tape drive.

In the end though, it comes down to a philosophical debate: how open
do you want your systems?  Some people are Free, some people are Open
Source, and some people are proprietary.
Steven Kurylo

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