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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

max wrote:
jeff wrote:
max wrote:
jeff wrote:
Hans de Goede wrote:
It depends on your definition of software, according to Fedora's definitions firmware is not software it is content. I know this is a word game, but think about it, what is the definition of software?

 From the Oxford English Dictionary:

1. Computers. a. The programs and procedures required to enable a computer to perform a specific task, as opposed to the physical components of the system (see also quot. 1961). b. esp. The body of system programs, including compilers and library routines, required for the operation of a particular computer and often provided by the manufacturer, as opposed to program material provided by a user for a specific task.

I didn't realize fedora was claiming that firmware isn't software. Now that is bullshit. You call it a word game, I'll call it what it is. *Content??!* It's obviously software. I mean, it can be copied, it can be rewritten (well, by the people in the castle with the code), it can be compiled, etc... Clearly software. I guess you need a PhD to delude yourself otherwise.

Usually techs are so precise, I can't believe the doublethinking here.

You are starting to work against yourself. Firmware usually comes with my devices, it is reloadable but it comes with the device when I make the purchase, I don't have to load firmware into a device to make it work in the first place. It is part of the hardware because the hardware requires it to run. I thought that was why software and firmware where two different terms. Firmware is software but the hardware relies on it to function and it is included in the purchase price of the hardware. Software is generally acquired separately from the hardware. Windows(software) comes preinstalled on many computers(hardware) but I can remove windows and still have functional hardware but if I remove the BIOS , windows nor linux will run.

If you remove the non-free software from tg3.c the device will still work.


no loss of functionality whatsoever?

I think the firmware does some TCP offloading or something so more processing happens in the card instead of the kernel, but I'm really not certain what the firmware is doing. In fact, only the people with the source code know what it's doing, I supppose.

But it works 100% fine as a regular network card without the firmware.

can you still interact with it?


I need to be able to interact with a device in order for it to be useful to me. My car will run without a driver but its not going anywhere. My computer will run without an operator but human interaction is required at some point to make it useful to me, if only for initial setup.

The card works fine with linux-libre, no firmware required.

"It is part of the hardware because the hardware requires it to run", you wrote.

I phrased it poorly in hindsight but its more or less true in most cases, or I should have said that its needed to interact with other hardware or software.

So you meant "It is part of the hardware because its needed to interact with the hardware or software" ??? wtf?

At some point it has to be configurable by a person through some extension or another in order to be useful.


I don't think manufacturers obsessed with the bottom line are hiring programmers to write unneeded firmware just to annoy free software advocates.

I don't either.

 >What does that make the non-free software in tg3.c?

Unnecessary but is that the case in every instance?

Does it have to be? I'm just pointing out the things I see in the Linux kernel that are clearly not free software.

I am perfectly willing to be educated/corrected and I have heard arguments from both sides that have merit, I am tempted to send a copy of the GPL to my lawyer and get the interpretation of someone who doesn't have a horse in this race.

Please do. And show him a copy of tg3.c too please. :)


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