Nanonote degrees of freedom

Wolfgang Spraul wolfgang at sharism.cc
Sun Jan 24 07:04:56 EST 2010


Ron,

> caused me to wonder how does Nanonote compare
> with the Lemote Yelong [2] netbook in terms of using
> only free and open software?

I don't know the details of how Lemote Yelong boots but I'd say if rms
uses it it's all free software.
The NanoNote is exactly the same. The CPU boots from NAND (or USB) and from
the first instruction on it's all free software.

> My gut says there Nanonote may have a few area at boot
> such as magic bit patterns that set up memory etc etc
> that while not technically BLOBS are undocumented and simply
> reverse engineered from pre-existing non-free code.

No it's just a few lines of code setting up registers, and those registers are
documented in the datasheet, and to some degree also in the codes, depending on
how extensive the code comments are.

> But in an ultra-pure world, where does one
> draw a bright line between completely open and libre,
> and almost completely open, but with shades of grey?

Yes, very hard. We are planning to start a wiki page to try to collect some
good criteria. Even though it may appear otherwise sometimes I think the Qi
people are mostly undogmatic, we just like to play with devices and don't want
to have to overcome artificial black boxes all the time.
As you know from my thread with Daniel the other day I actually believe rms
tends to overlook non-free software in firmwares, that's a long story though :-)

Wolfgang

On Sat, Jan 23, 2010 at 11:29:19PM -0800, Ron K. Jeffries wrote:
> This short interview [1] with Richard Stallman
> caused me to wonder how does Nanonote compare
> with the Lemote Yelong [2] netbook in terms of using
> only free and open software?
> 
> From another article, I seem to remember
> RMS does not use WiFi but I may be wrong about that.
> 
> My gut says there Nanonote may have a few area at boot
> such as magic bit patterns that set up memory etc etc
> that while not technically BLOBS are undocumented and simply
> reverse engineered from pre-existing non-free code.
> 
> I DO NOT CARE personally, period!
> 
> But in an ultra-pure world, where does one
> draw a bright line between completely open and libre,
> and almost completely open, but with shades of grey?
> 
> [1] http://richard.stallman.usesthis.com
> [2] http://www.lemote.com/english/yeeloong.html
> 
> ---
> Ron K. Jeffries
> 
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