proprietary firmware

Brandon Kruse admteamkruz at
Sat Feb 16 02:01:07 CET 2008

On Feb 15, 2008, at 3:49 PM, joerg <joerg.twinklephone at> wrote:

> Am Fr  15. Februar 2008 schrieb Brandon Kruse:
>> In that case it is not an open phone or platform.
> It's a philosophical question, where "open" has it's limits. E.g.  
> you probably
> consider a plain vanilla x86 GNU/linux desktop system to be pretty  
> much "true
> open". However i guess you have no idea at all of the firmware that's
> managing your harddisk in this system. That's for a simple reason: IDE
> interface is age old (and so all HD's (SATA, SCSII) inherited this  
> way we are
> looking at these devices), it is "just working", and it's well  
> documented.
> Virtually nobody cares about the firmware behind this interface,  
> mainly
> because it doesn't have a chance to stop you from doing anything you  
> like on
> the _main_system_. I'm almost certain there's a hacker somewhere out  
> there,
> who likes to mod his HD so the head motors will produce funny  
> sounds, and
> another one thinks he can tune transfer rates even another 10k/s.  
> However i
> never seen FOSS HD firmware.

Point taken. My opinion is versus things that COULD change and things  
that will never change, good point though.

>> It is well worth the
>> investigation to go fully open somehow IMO.
> Sure. But it's a silly idea to try and force the subsystem  
> manufacturers by
> refusing to support their closed source firmware updates. When  
> Seagate comes
> with a DOS-only firmware updater to add some cool new features to  
> their
> drives, OM says "No, it's not FOSS!". Seagate (or here, the chip  
> fabs) don't
> care. But OM deprives NEO owners of any means to have a new firmware  
> for
> these subsystems. If a user doesn't like to have closed source on  
> his device,
> she is free delete or not install it. But OM will not achieve  
> anything by
> refusing to provide closed source drivers. I think all they get is a  
> huge
> number of returns, or less sales (at least for me).
> And OM(!) isn't willing or able to provide circuit diagrams, so any  
> open
> drivers are extremely hard to develop. In my opinion they can't do  
> both,
> refuse to support closed source updates *and* keep the hw specs  
> closed. Not
> if they care about their customers.
> Not to mention, NEO will not be "open" at all as long as the  
> hardware is
> a 'big mystery'. A laugh to start with closed firmware topic.

Also agreed. I would love an API decided by the community, not sure  
that would ever work but would be great. Point above, stallman uses an  
OLPC (open hardware) and for the things that are availinle as open  
(orinoco wireless) he has the on board wireless disabled.

If there is no way to open what we want, our option is to sit and die  
in wait of such, or move on with an API decided by us (which pooint  
you made and I agree, would be great)

>> But I guess we could be like olpc and have a MOSTLY open platform
>> (wifi chip is not, as you could have guessed)
> I'd like it more to see OM pushing manufacturers to provide a  
> guaranteed API,
> which is specified by community, and not to care about _how_ the  
> mfactrs
> achieve to fulfill this contract. Than to nag manufacturers to open  
> the
> sources of firmware, "because we can do better, and do not want to  
> use what
> we paid for".
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