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Comment I'd love a cheap solid gold keyboard... (Score 1) 134

but I'm not entitled to one. If the market isn't giving you what you want then you either offer more money or make it yourself, but no one is required to make the product you want for the price you want.

The hacker community wants companies to incur extra expense to make hackable hardware and then pass that cost onto the vast majority of customers who have no interest in hacking their hardware. The market's answer is, "Nope".

Comment The right answer *is* to Tivoize it. (Score 1) 134

It leads to the simplest and cheapest hardware, the easiest-to-support software stack (no dealing with customers running third-party firmware) and it meets the FCC requirements. It annoys people who want others to subsidize their desire to fiddle with commodity hardware, but that doesn't really matter because statistically those people don't exist.

The "correct response" is for the hacker community to build their own hackable hardware or pay extra to some company that supplies hackable hardware.

Comment Umm, yeah, that's pretty idiotic. (Score 1) 134

There are very good reasons to make devices for which the firmware is changeable after manufacturing but only by the manufacturer. The manufacturer does a little bit of encryption and signs the binary blob with their secret key and the hardware refuses to run un-signed binaries (pretty much exactly what people are complaining about here with routers). Sure it can be defeated by people with a lot of time on their hands, but you can also re-write your mask ROM with enough effort.

Software people have an incredibly naive understanding of how the world works. It would be funny if it wasn't so scary.

Comment Process labels are mostly meaningless nowadays (Score 1) 227

Different manufacturers don't necessarily measure the same feature to give that size (i.e., minimum L1 metal width or poly width or whatever) and there are so many second-order effects which influence density, performance, and power that the difference between 14nm and 16nm is pretty meaningless.

Comment So long as it's GPL V2 then I don't see a problem (Score 1) 134

If they've made any modifications to the kernel (for example) then they should make that source available--but they aren't required to give you a way to re-compile that source and load it onto the hardware. And they are perfectly free to use binary blobs for the low-level bits that talk to the hardware, there's no GPL violation there--that's a proprietary executable that runs on top of the kernel.

Comment Shouldn't that be fixed by the vendor? (Score 1) 134

If the vendor refuses to fix it, then find a different vendor. A vendor could choose to make their router software modifiable by third parties (presumably at extra expense & liability) and if that is a valuable capability then presumably customers will be willing to pay for it.

We don't allow people to rewrite the low-level software in their microwave, I don't know why we'd allow it for something like a router.

Comment It's software in the sense that it can be changed, (Score 1) 134

but it's not software in any sense of the understanding of the vast majority of software engineers that read slashdot--specifically because they've been sheltered from extremely low-level hardware details by various layers of firmware for their entire lives.

x86 micro-code can be changed via flash, as can the low-level software that controls your microwaves, does that need to be programmable by random C++ hackers?

Comment As a HW designer, I really dislike the idea... (Score 1) 134

of requiring firmware to be modifiable by external developers. Firmware isn't software. With software we have to jump through a lot of hoops to make sure that the programmer can't do any physical damage and that he or she has a relatively clean and sane way to program the machine. Firmware is much lower level and it's where we hide all sorts of nasty stuff. In many cases it is virtually impossible to write the firmware if you aren't sitting next to the guy who designed the hardware (sometimes it's the same guy). In some cases you can cause physical damage to the device or to people. Engineering teams have careful validation methodologies for firmware--random hackers are the amongst the least careful people on the planet.

It's better to put any compliance burden (FCC, security, etc.) squarely on the manufacturer and let them use signed binary blobs.

Comment TVs existed before 1997, too. What's your point? (Score 2) 323

The definition of "new technology" is "combination of existing technologies to create a new product". Why is this so hard for slashdotters to understand?

Electric cars existed before Tesla. A mass-market electric car that is faster than most gas cars and which travels 200+ miles/charge did NOT exist before Tesla--therefore it is new technology.

Comment What's scary is you think you're smart. (Score 1) 246

1. Apple doesn't make money off of apps, they make money by selling hardware. Their only interest in having a locked down app-store is so that iOS will be perceived as the "safe, virus & malware-free approach". I know it's really hard to understand how a company can make money by selling real physical objects because we've all been so conditioned into thinking that you can only make money off of software and ads.

2. iOS is a gigantic market. Android has more users but those users don't have any money. Dramatically more money is spent by iOS users (on apps and everything else) than by Android users. You are incredibly naive to think that iOS is not a big enough target for virus/malware authors.

3. This is how I know you're a child, because you think that if there's a tiniest chink in the armor then the armor is useless. It's really common for kids to have this perception because their brains are under-developed, can't see shades of gray, and thus can't comprehend that there can be a lot of value to imperfect security. Hopefully at some point in your intellectual development you'll understand that ALL SECURITY IS IMPERFECT. As of right now your brain is just not capable of processing that.

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll