kernel-libre (hopefully 100% Free) for Fedora 8 and rawhide

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at
Sun Mar 30 16:36:59 UTC 2008

Alexandre Oliva wrote:

>>> - Sorry, I don't understand them myself.  I just copied them from the
>>> Windows driver.
>> I didn't write this driver, but this is the most likely correct
>> answer. Still given that I needed to explain color correction lookup
>> tables to you. I _seriously_ doubt your ability to decide if this
>> makes some code non free.
> What does one thing have to do with the other?  You're talking of
> technical matters, I'm talking of ethical matters.

But the difference is only technical.

 > How would my
> technical lack of knowledge about one particular kind of device make
> me unable to figure out whether someone is trying to stop others from
> enjoying the four freedoms on a piece of code?

There a many pieces of source code I don't understand. Does that make 
the person who wrote them evil?

> That's not a technical
> issue at all.

If it is possible for me to understand something and I don't, then it is 
a technical issue.

> Now, once it performs a functional role, then studying and
> understanding it has a broader meaning: you have to understand what
> each number actually means.

There was a time before compilers were ubiquitous that people routinely 
did this.  The fact the for some devices now there may be an easier way 
doesn't affect the morality of doing it by hand.

> Now, compare that with the register initialization code.  How can I
> adapt it such that the code does what I need, if I can't really know
> what it's doing?

Have you established, for each of these cases, that it is impossible for 
you or someone else to learn what the numbers mean and modify them?

> I don't buy that.  If there's a register there, it's because someone
> put it there for a reason, and changing it must have some effect,
> otherwise it wouldn't be there in the first place.  But there's a big
> difference between "we don't know, it was like this when we got here"
> to "we know it, but we're not going to tell you".

Exactly.  And have you followed up every instance to prove that your 
failure to understand the values is in fact because the required 
information is intentionally withheld?

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at

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