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

From: Carsten Agger
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] ubuntu/media/gspcav1 full of hex tables
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2008 22:20:08 +0200

On Sat, 2008-06-21 at 15:12 +0200, Sam Geeraerts wrote:
> 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
> > [driver_name]_start_data[][3].
> > 
> > Also, several of these files (in different directories) are identified
> > as needing binary firmware on
> >  Peter
> > 
> 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.

Maybe it would be a good idea to contact some of the individuals
credited with the code or perhaps somebody knowledgeable in this kind of
development to clear this up - possibly somebody in kernel development
or similarly? Who would that be?

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