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About firmware facilities

From: Robert Millan
Subject: About firmware facilities
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2009 14:54:52 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 02:07:10PM -0700, Seth Goldberg wrote:
>   I strongly disagree with you in this specific case.  Our experience in  
> Solaris has demonstrated that PXE firmware is surprisingly robust (when 
> the right combination of API calls (i.e. those tested by Windows) are 
> used).  We have been successfully using PXE-based firmware for netbooting 
> for many years now, and we would like to continue to do so.  Maintaining 
> a driver collection for NICs is futile, IMHO.  Using the firmware that's 
> there, and that's reliable should be the goal.  Not all firmware is our 
> enemy :).

Reliing on proprietary firmware is a compromise.  We don't install the blobs
ourselves, so we're not responsible for them, but it is still problematic
because user has less freedom (firmware bugs is just the most notable
consequence of this).

So our compromise is to use firmware when we have no other choice, or when
the alternative is not reasonable (e.g. not mature or complete enough).

My goal as maintainer is to encourage development of a usable and complete
driver framework.  I'm open to discussion about accepting code for using
hardware support from firmware, but keep in mind it's not our primary goal.

In the specific case of network hardware, I'm more reluctant because it's
a regression compared to what we had in GRUB Legacy.

Robert Millan

  The DRM opt-in fallacy: "Your data belongs to us. We will decide when (and
  how) you may access your data; but nobody's threatening your freedom: we
  still allow you to remove your data and not access it at all."

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