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Simon Turner
2005-01-07, 12:00
I'd much rather SlimDevices made money and survived to service my Squeezebox
requirements than release the firmware into the public domain for others to
incorporate into competing devices that they could then sell less
expensively.

Open source software, although seemingly a great idea, does have it's
limitations for use in a sound business model.

Simon Turner
Brighton UK


> Hi!
>
> I was recently pointed to the Squeezebox by a friend, stating it was
> 'all open source'. However, after digging through the information on
> the homepage (there is no FAQ, unfortunately) I discovered that the most
> important part, the firmware of the device, is neither open source nor
> any source code available at all.
>
> In the 13 month old posting
> http://lists.slimdevices.com/archives/discuss/2003-November/020849.html
>
> the statement 'we do want to release the source code, but not
> immediately' was made. More than one year is indeed "not immediately".
>
> I would be really disappointed if I had bought a Slim device at that
> point of time (relying on the source code being published at some point
> soon), and there was still no source code available more than a year
> later.
>
> It was indicated that there are some '3rd party os issues'. So why not
> release the full hardware documentation and/or those parts of the
> firmware source code that are under Slim's copyright and not any 3rd
> party. At this point, you would enable the community to develop their
> own firmware, based on a suitable free software OS and potentially the
> remaining software pieces from Slim.
>
> This firmware could then be fully standards compliant and support e.g.
> MPEG2 Transport Streams over Multicast/UDP or even DCCP (a new layer
> four protocol for multimedia streaming being developed in the IETF).
>
> So (at least for now) for whoever wants to have a 100% free software /
> open source solution, there's only the way of using one of the many
> linux-running Wirelesss Routers with USB host port and a USB Audio
> device, plus building your own firmware image from the vendor-supplied
> linux sources.
>
> This is very, very unfortunate, *sigh* :(
>
> --
> - Harald Welte <laforge (AT) gnumonks (DOT) org>
http://www.gnumonks.org/
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michael
2005-01-07, 17:46
"Simon Turner" <simon (AT) brighton (DOT) co.uk> writes:
> I'd much rather SlimDevices made money and survived to service my Squeezebox
> requirements than release the firmware into the public domain for others to
> incorporate into competing devices that they could then sell less
> expensively.
>
> Open source software, although seemingly a great idea, does have it's
> limitations for use in a sound business model.

The Slimp3 released it's firmware, and that didn't seem to negatively
affect slim devices. I don't know anything about slimdevices internals
or their financials, but I take their statement about wanting to
release the squeezebox firmware as an indication that releasing the
slimp3 firmware didn't harm them. Unfortunately, as has been mentioned
before on this list, the firmware for the squeezebox is hampered by
licences on upstream hardware components, and the os used by those
chips.

I suspect your assumption that releasing the
firmware would have a negative impact on slim devices or the
squeezebox is based on common assumption than any actual fact.
That is, "everyone knows that releasing source code puts you at a
competitive disadvantage" isn't necessarily true. If anything, the
continued development of slimserver seems to be an example of this.

Just my $.02

-michael