Originally Posted by adamk75
Most pieces of hardware require some sort of firmware. In some cases, the firmware is stored in ROM on the hardware itself. Do you also require that firmware to be open source? If so, I'm curious what hardware you are using that only uses open source firmware.
You bring me to a difficult issue, difficult only because of the twisted world in which we live. In my view, every piece of hardware I own and run should be completely open to me, in the sense that
1. I should be able to get detailed specs on all hardwired electronic components, so I can understand exactly how they work and every aspect of what they will do.
2. For firmware stored on ROM, I should have a full copy of the source code, so that I understand exactly what the firmware does.
3. For firmware stored in re-programmable memory, I should have a full copy of the source code, as well as the legal ability to modify such code and the access necessary to load modified code on the device.
Obviously these are high ideals in a world in which technology is generally considered a trade secret to be secretly hoarded away from every possible competitor and kept exclusive by any legal means possible. As far as goals (1) and (2), I am not aware of any hardware distributors anywhere that have embraced these ideals. But if I knew of any, I would be glad to support them and prefer their products.
The Free Software movement (Stallman camp) has, however, focused on promoting goal (3), in particular with new conditions in GPL-3. I endeavor to support this aim by only loading Free firmware in those cases in which I am control of what firmware is loaded.
Hope that helps.