[Gta04-owner] Status GTA04 EA

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Mon Oct 3 14:16:23 CEST 2011


Hi Neil,
thank you very much!

Some additions below:

Am 03.10.2011 um 13:53 schrieb Neil Jerram:

> On Mon, 3 Oct 2011 11:36:48 +0200, Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
>> 
>> Running this project in addition to hardware and kernel development is
>> simply beyond our (and my) capabilities (timewise and background knowledge).
> 
> That seems entirely reasonable, given everything else you are already doing!
> 
>> And, I think others could also be interested, who are not related to
>> the GTA04
>> project at all (e.g. Gumstix Overo, OLPC). So it needs to be run by some
>> different community.
>> 
>> 
>>> FWIW I'd be interested in helping with this; but I couldn't lead the effort, as I have no idea where to begin.
>> 
>> That would be great!
>> 
>> To simplify the "where to begin", I have added some links to the
>> project request
>> page:
>> 
>> 	http://projects.goldelico.com/p/gta04-main/page/FirmwareInjector/
> 
> Thanks.  I'm not sure I correctly understand the situation, based on those links, but here is my best guess:
> 
>                                  |
>  +---------------------------+   |  +----------------------+
>  |                           |   |  |                      |
>  |  +-----------+            |   |  |   Linux              |
>  |  | RTOS blob |            |   |  |                      |
>  |  +-----------+            |   |  |  +-----------------+ |
>  |                           |   |  |  | libertas driver | |
>  |   Firmware code using     |   |  |  +-----------------+ |
>  |      RTOS API             |   |  |                      |
>  |                           |   |  |   (all open source)  |
>  +---------------------------+   |  +----------------------+
>        Runs on device CPU        |     Runs on main CPU
> 
> 
> - Everything on the RHS is open source - so no problem there.
> 
> - Currently (in OLPC and GTA04 EA) everything on the LHS is provided as a firmware blob, provided by Marvell.
> 
> - IIUC, Marvell own the rights for the "Firmware code using RTOS API", and have expressed willingness in the past to make this code available.  But they don't have rights to provide the RTOS code.
> 
>  - Therefore the task could be to write an independent RTOS implementation that provides the API that Marvell's firmware code uses.
> 
>  - Alternatively, I suppose the task could be to reverse-engineer (if legal) and reimplement the whole firmware from scratch.

I think reverse engineering is legal in some juristictions if certain rules are followed. The same may be illegal
somewhere else. AFAIK, it is possible that one team analyses and writes a specification, while another
team takes the spec and writes new code (without seeing any direct RE results). But since I am not a lawyer,
I may be completely wrong. So it should be analysed carefully.

> - I don't see any pointers anywhere to the actual firmware code, though, and on the other hand there are scattered mentions of NDAs everywhere.  So it looks like the firmware code is only available under NDA.

The actual firmware is part of the Debian non-free repository,

	http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/pool/non-free/libe/libertas-firmware/libertas-firmware_9.70.7.p0.0.orig.tar.gz

but it can also be downloaded from Marvell (with a different license
as I understand):

	http://www.marvell.com/support/downloads/search.do

Nikolaus



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