Re: POSSIVEL SPAM-- Re: Binary-only firmware covered by the GPL?

From: Valdis . Kletnieks
Date: Wed Mar 31 2004 - 00:50:22 EST

On Tue, 30 Mar 2004 14:44:32 -0300, Humberto Massa said:

> There is another fail in your reasons here: as I said before, it just
> _happens_ to happen that fw[] = {} *is* the source code. What we must
> decide is what to do in the cases where *we don't know*.
> After all, what happens is somebody *actually* prefers the binary blob
> for modification? And, what happens if _the copyright holder_ actually
> prefers the binary blob for modification? No inconsistency here.

In fact, I was going to suggest that quite possibly, there really *is* no other
option for source, because the target hardware doesn't have a functional enough
toolchain, so hand-assembly really *is* the most reasonable thing.

That file isn't any worse than my early '80s Compiler Design class project
(done the last year before lex/yacc became available for the class) - one file
was a large 247x139x3 (or thereabouts) array of integers, encoding all the
shift/reduce productions for a compiler for a Pascal subset that actually
generated working (though painfully ugly) code for the IBM S/370 architecture.
(The assignment was "Pascal subset plus your choice of one extension" - my
teammate and I made the mistake of choosing "Fortran-style mixed-mode
arithmetic", that array was literally 1/4 the size before we started that.)

"You are lost in a maze of tiny little shift/reduce productions, all nearly

And yes, the two of us generated the whole table by hand. I admit we did
finally break down and write some tools to verify that each line of the table
did in fact have the right number of entries, and to add a column of zeros when
the number of productions went up.

*Preferred* source format? lex/yacc input files. Did the source ever actually
*exist* in that format? Nope... :)

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