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[gNewSense-users] ESS Maestro 3 has Firmware

From: Brian Kemp
Subject: [gNewSense-users] ESS Maestro 3 has Firmware
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 13:02:31 -0400

So I decided to take up the challenge of running the Inventory program
on my machine.

Statistics of machine 'broam-gnewsense'
 * 1 CPU: Pentium III (Coppermine) @ 801.955MHz
 * Kernel: 2.6.15-28-386 #1 PREEMPT Fri Feb 9 20:06:14 UTC 2007
 * Sound card: ESS Technology ES1988 Allegro-1 (rev 10)
     Driver: Maestro3 modinfo: could not find module Maestro3
(License: modinfo : could not find module Maestro3)

(ed: rest of computer information omitted)

Okay, well that's I did some more digging. I found this
page discussing the BeOS drivers:

"The Linux code has a very nice description at the top of how the
Maestro3 chipsets work -- there is some magical DSP code that gets
copied into the card, and that DSP code controls the bulk of the work
that the card does. The driver just points at entry points for this
DSP code for each function, and sets up data in the right places for
the card to grab/output. The DSP code is not in any form that I can
understand (it's some kind of DSP machine language, i.e., just a big
set of hex numbers), but apparently we're allowed to use it like this
without violating any licenses... A side note, the drivers on Linux
that I'm working from are GPL, so the resulting driver here should I
complete the project will also be GPL'd."

Hmm. That's not going to work. ESS seemed to have released lots of
public docs, but there's a nice little piece of firmware they won't
share...well that's no good.

So then I needed to see if this was still the case; that page is a bit
old, but even if it's not it's still disenheartening.  So I hit google
a few more times, and find one of the many Linux Kernel source

I quote:
"74  *  Allow me to ramble a bit about the m3 architecture.  The core of the
75  *  chip is the 'assp', the custom ESS dsp that runs the show.  It has
76  *  a small amount of code and data ram.  ESS drops binary dsp code images
77  *  on our heads, but we don't get to see specs on the dsp. "
contains the actual binary blob in question, the huge dump of hex numbers.

I understand that the source is for 2.6.17 and I'm running 2.6.15;
that still holds.

Well, that's about it.

Wow. I'm a musician, and I just filed a bug to disable my sound card.
Anyone have ideas on where I can get a good, fully supported PCI sound
card? (For sound card suggestions, please email me directly, not the
list, unless people ask to be included.)

Please forward this upstream as well.

Thanks in advance,

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