Which firmware in common laptops

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Mon Mar 2 13:58:19 UTC 2015

On Monday 2. March 2015 14.26.02 Paul van der Vlis wrote:
> I am most interested in the devices what have replaceable firmware.
> Because somebody could do bad things with it, like they did with the
> firmware of harddisks.

I think there definitely needs to be more discussion around firmware which can 
or cannot be upgraded, particularly since a lot of people seem to disagree 
with the FSF's position on this. From one perspective, making the firmware 
immutable is a bad thing for people who want to fix or improve it, ultimately 
consigning hardware to waste if it turns out to be critically flawed, but from 
another perspective, if only the manufacturer is in a position to upgrade the 
firmware, then they are exercising rights that they deny to the hardware's 

It's understandable to say that if there's a choice between only some people 
having the right to upgrade firmware and nobody being able to do it, then the 
latter prevents one group of people from having power over the other, 
potentially. However, there's always the argument that such power can be 
exercised by merely getting the firmware "right first time" (for whatever 
purpose) and then relinquishing the right to upgrade in order to satisfy the 
FSF criteria.

Sorry to drag things off topic, although I'll gladly point out Novena [1] for 
anyone not already aware of it as a useful reference for such matters.


[1] http://www.kosagi.com/w/index.php?title=Novena_Main_Page

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