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Re: [gNewSense-users] ubuntu/media/gspcav1 full of hex tables

From: Sam Geeraerts
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] ubuntu/media/gspcav1 full of hex tables
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2008 15:12:42 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla-Thunderbird (X11/20080420)

Peter and Jesse wrote:
Almost every file in the directory ubuntu/media/gspcav1/ is full of hex
tables. Many of them have names like static __u16

Also, several of these files (in different directories) are identified
as needing binary firmware on

I've looked at a few of those files and it looks like most (all?) of them are copyrighted by private individuals rather than companies. Some of the comments say that the data has been reverse engineered by way of USB snooping. I believe most webcams are similar to Winmodems: almost all of the action happens in software. I can imagine that such software would include some magic initialization data.

I think the authors did enough snooping to get the devices to work, but didn't bother to dig into it deeper to find out what all command codes and data actually meant. Comments on some lines indicate that they did find out for some parts of it.

Despite the large amount of hex values and the code being rather terse and vague, I don't think the code has been deliberately obfuscated. So I think these files can be marked as free. I also don't immediately see any evidence of a requirement for proprietary firmware apart from the files that are included.

This is just my subjective opinion. I don't know how these drivers are usually developed. As long as someone more knowledgeable in this field or one or more of the authors haven't confirmed this, it's probably safer to mark them as non-free.

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