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Re: Re: [f-cpu] Re: Project short description

On Fri, Sep 07, 2001 at 12:22:42PM +0200, Juergen Goeritz wrote:
> thanks for explaining your point of view about free software.

De nada :)

> But with your remarks it does not seem to be free any more,
> but some kind of shared software. Why should one develop this
> software on, if one can't make a living of this?

It *is* "some kind of shared software", and the word "free" never
meant "gratis".

Why one should use and improve Free Software?  Because it improves your
karma and brightens your teeth (I don't remember who said that, maybe
Linus Torvalds).

> On the hardware side its a different world. One cannot just
> build a chip. One has to relate to a certain process and a
> certain library of a certain vendor to really make one. The
> chip manufacturing process is not comparable to the software
> development process. One works with acid/toxic things in
> expensive cleanroom environments using expensive machines.
> This means one has to invest a lot of money if one wants
> a design to be manufatured into a chip. Of course this is a
> very easy explanation...

On the software side, you work on a certain machine, with a certain
operating system and compiler, and you link your program with certain
system libraries which can all be proprietary, too.  Of course this is
a very easy explanation ;)

You may not be able to make chips at home, in your living room or on your
kitchen table, but it's no black art either.  In the future, it might be
as easy as photographing -- you take a picture (design a circuit), send
it to the laboratory, and get the result back within less than 24 hours.
They also use acid/toxic/bad-smelling substances, by the way, but you're
not required to know anything about the chemical and physical processes
or the materials involved.

> >From this point of view I cannot follow your idea that one
> has to share all the 'intelligence' that will be put into
> the design. Worst case szenario is that you want the asic
> manufacturer to open all their know-how as well. Did you
> draw the border in the license for f-cpu where it stops?

The border is almost the same as in the software world.  The system
libraries come with the OS, and are usually not free, but you can use
them in a GPLed program.  Analogously, an ASIC manufacturer can use
(usually proprietary) technology libraries and chip manufacturing
processes when building an F-CPU chip.

On the "macroscopic" side, a GPLed program may run a proprietary tool in
a separate process and communicate with it via files, pipes, sockets,
shared memory or whatever.  The GNU compiler runs as(1) and ld(1) this
way, for example.  An F-CPU chip (or F-CPU based SoC) can be plugged
into a socket (more general, mounted on a PCB) and connected to other
chips and sockets, and communicate with them in one of the usual ways.
Of course it would be nice if the rest of the system were free as well
(like Linux or GNU on the software side), but that is not required.

> Therefore my opinion is to use a more open license for
> all hardware related things. Maybe LGPL is not the best
> but it is at least a start.

Why don't *you* use a more open license?  As far as I understood, you
don't intend to release your source code at all, do you?

 Michael "Tired" Riepe <Michael.Riepe@stud.uni-hannover.de>
 "All I wanna do is have a little fun before I die"
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