Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Nov 2010 22:24 UTC, submitted by koki
GNU, GPL, Open Source Now this is interesting. We see what is at its core a very valid concern, in practice not a problem to anyone, and, thanks to the tone of the press release, close to trolling. The Free Software Foundation Latin America is complaining about something that has been known for a while - there is some non-Free code stuck in the Linux kernel (mostly firmware). A valid issue of concern from an idealogical viewpoint, but sadly, the tone of the press release turns this valid concern into something close to trolling.
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This loadable microcode is now new.
I was writing loadable microcode for VAX & PDP-11 Computers in the early 1980's.

In my simplistic view (waiting for incoming missiles) if you have the hardware and it requires loadable firmware/microcode to run then how you load it is immaterial, i.e. it don't matter if it loaded from Windows or Linux or unix or Fred's Toy O/S.
Again in my simplistic view, if you have legally purchased said H/W then it is not complete until you load the F/W.

What does matter to me is that said firmware is binary identical to that shipped by the H/W manufacturer. If you start messing with their original then sorry, you have messed up.
IN my view if you write your own code and release it under the GPL then that's fine as well. Just don't break into the manufacturers blob. Leave it alone and IMHO (IANAL etc) you should be fine legally.
If H/W makers decide to insist that the F/W can only be loaded into the device from a certain O/S then I think they are open to lawsuits but given the totally broken & messed up morass that is the US legals system I wouldn't be surprised if such suits failed.

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