proprietary firmware

Mikhail Umorin mikeumo at
Sat Feb 16 07:30:46 CET 2008

On Friday February 15 2008 13:54:27 Brandon Kruse wrote:
> In that case it is not an open phone or platform. It is well worth the
> investigation to go fully open somehow IMO.
> But I guess we could be like olpc and have a MOSTLY open platform
> (wifi chip is not, as you could have guessed)
Basically what I thought was:

a customer buys a phone with whatever firmware is in it and what ever 
mechanism the OS uses to upload it to the hardware on startup if necessary;

if a customer wants to update/upgrade firmware then one has to download a 
binary update app  (say from OM website) and the firmware update itself (from 
OM or a hardware vendor). Then install the app, the firmware and be happy 
about new features/speed and the fact that there is a (small) binary module 
on his/her system he/she knows nothing about.

Alternatively, one can send the phone to OM and request an firmware update;

Alternatively, one can refuse to put anything non-FOSS on the phone and live 
happily with (presumably buggy/malfunctioning) existing firmware and try to 
fix any problems the FOSS-way.

I do not think OM can achieve *completely* (=absolutely) open OS with any 
sensible effort. Let's be realistic. What OM/community needs to decide is the 
degree (or ratio) of open to non-open soft. I would not even demand a 
certain, community decided API from firmware vendors -- just that they *open* 
whatever API they have. The greatest problem for community to produce 
software is not that some API has changed: it's when API is not available in 
the first place. So, let's get the functioning hardware in our hands -- there 
is plenty of things to do beyond firmware updates.  


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