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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Bill Hollingsworth)
Subject: legOS
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Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 02:13:57 GMT
Original-From: Bill Hollingsworth <billh@arches.uga.edu>
Lines: 14

Hi,
     Does anyone use legOS?  I read that there are possible risks to
getting other ROM images.  What are the risks? 
     I am using a GNU/Linux machine.  Is there anything else involved in
using legOS other than getting GNU binutils, building a gcc cross compiler
for h8300-hitachi-hms, compiling legOS, and downloading it to the RCX? 
     legOS is available at http://mauve.inrialpes.fr/ .

   Thanks,
           , __     _   _     ,
          /|/  \o  | | | |   /|   |
           | __/   | | | |    |___|
           |   \|  |/  |/     |   |\
           |(__/|_/|__/|__/   |   |/

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Kekoa Proudfoot)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 02:23:20 GMT
Original-From: Kekoa Proudfoot <kekoa@Graphics.Stanford.EDU>
Lines: 23

>      Does anyone use legOS?  I read that there are possible risks to
> getting other ROM images.  What are the risks? 

Did you get a ROM image?  Did you disassemble the firmware?  Even if you
did, is there anything to forbid you from using that information to write
new firmware?  Not that I'm supplying you with an answer, but it seems to
me that it's your RCX, why can't you do what you like with the hardware now
that you've bought it, especially if you use a piece of software that was
(supposedly) written without using any code from the original firmware or
ROM, except possibly for the "Do you byte, when I knock?" string, which is
otherwise needed for compatibility?

>      I am using a GNU/Linux machine.  Is there anything else involved in
> using legOS other than getting GNU binutils, building a gcc cross compiler
> for h8300-hitachi-hms, compiling legOS, and downloading it to the RCX? 

No.  Except that you will almost certainly want to check out:

http://graphics.stanford.edu/~kekoa/rcx/

for more information on the ROM image and firmware.

-Kekoa

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:743
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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Bill Hollingsworth)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 02:40:23 GMT
Original-From: Bill Hollingsworth <billh@arches.uga.edu>
Lines: 14

Hi,
     Thanks for your response.  I have been reading your pages over the
past few days.  I do not have the RCX (yet), but I am very interested.  I
learned of it this weekend and have been reading the specs.  I am as
interested in playing with operating systems for it as I am playing with
the robotics. :)  Using gcc to program it seems very neat to me, as does
using the PalmPilot III.

   Thanks,
           , __     _   _     ,
          /|/  \o  | | | |   /|   |
           | __/   | | | |    |___|
           |   \|  |/  |/     |   |\
           |(__/|_/|__/|__/   |   |/

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:768
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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Dave Taira)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 17:40:22 GMT
Original-From: Dave Taira <bodhi@foad.org>
Lines: 22

On Tue, 24 Nov 1998, Kekoa Proudfoot wrote:

> >      Does anyone use legOS?  I read that there are possible risks to
> > getting other ROM images.  What are the risks? 
> 
> Not that I'm supplying you with an answer, but it seems to
> me that it's your RCX, why can't you do what you like with the
> hardware now that you've bought it,

I think he meants risks as in "I installed LegOS, and it got wedged, and
I can't reinstall the official Lego stuff, so now I've got a very very
expensive lego brick that does nothing".

It seems to me that Lego's position would logically be "If you install
anything that we don't sell, you're on your own".

As a side note: what happened to the Reply-To header? IMHO, replies should
go back to the list by default.

Dave Taira     | Broken pipes, broken tools, people bending broken rules /   |
Hired Gun      | Hound dog howlin', bullfrog croakin' / Everything is broken |
bodhi@foad.org | --Bob Dylan, "Everything is Broken"                         |

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Kekoa Proudfoot)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 18:40:36 GMT
Original-From: Kekoa Proudfoot <kekoa@Graphics.Stanford.EDU>
Lines: 23

> I think he meants risks as in "I installed LegOS, and it got wedged, and
> I can't reinstall the official Lego stuff, so now I've got a very very
> expensive lego brick that does nothing".

Such risks are unknown.  You have to trust, in the case of LegOS, that
Markus did a reasonable job.  He in turn probably has some amount of trust
that I did a reasonable job, at least with regards to some aspects.  If
you're not sure about whether or not these risks are significant, and if
you're worried about having to replace a broken Lego brick, then by all
means listen to the disclaimers, don't make use of the information on my
web page, and don't use LegOS.

Of course, if you're looking for reasons to be confident with LegOS,
conisder that Markus and others have been using the software with no
destructive effect.  As more and more people use the software, you can be
more and more sure that the software is okay.

> It seems to me that Lego's position would logically be "If you install
> anything that we don't sell, you're on your own".

Definitely.

-Kekoa





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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Kekoa Proudfoot)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 18:49:11 GMT
Original-From: Kekoa Proudfoot <kekoa@Graphics.Stanford.EDU>
Lines: 12

> LEGO's license doesn't allow reverse engineering of their product.  That,
> however, is a clause everyone writes in their licenses. I think I
> remember reading somewhere that this clause is invalid, like the old PC
> clauses prohibiting you to open up the case.

In addition to this, read the licence again, and tell me whether or not it
can be interpreted to exclude the firmware and ROM image.  Does firmware
fall under the category of software?  Certainly they made it clear that
Plug-Ins fall into that category, but as far as I'm concerned, firmware is
firmware, software is software, and firmware is not software.

-Kekoa

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (John Scott Kjellman)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 21:05:09 GMT
Original-From: John Scott Kjellman <jkjellman@ameritech.net>
Lines: 45

Guys,

Everyone seems to be missing one point:

The RCX does have ROM code (this is what loads the firmware the first
time, right?).  If you were to "jam up" the firmware, you could just
simply remove the batteries, let the firmware (which must be in battery
backed SRAM) fade away, and reload the Mind(less)Storm crap :-).

the only possibility of any [physical damage to the brick would be if
Lego did a poor hardware design job and you could program something into
an overload state (like on the old IBM fixed frequency VGA monitors
;-).  I highly doubt that this is possible based on the high quality
engineering and QA job that Lego does on every one of their products I
have seen over the last 30 years (geez, do I sound as old as I think?
;-).

Take care (and hack those bricks ;-)
KJohn

Kekoa Proudfoot wrote:
> 
> > I think he meants risks as in "I installed LegOS, and it got wedged, and
> > I can't reinstall the official Lego stuff, so now I've got a very very
> > expensive lego brick that does nothing".
> 
> Such risks are unknown.  You have to trust, in the case of LegOS, that
> Markus did a reasonable job.  He in turn probably has some amount of trust
> that I did a reasonable job, at least with regards to some aspects.  If
> you're not sure about whether or not these risks are significant, and if
> you're worried about having to replace a broken Lego brick, then by all
> means listen to the disclaimers, don't make use of the information on my
> web page, and don't use LegOS.
> 
> Of course, if you're looking for reasons to be confident with LegOS,
> conisder that Markus and others have been using the software with no
> destructive effect.  As more and more people use the software, you can be
> more and more sure that the software is okay.
> 
> > It seems to me that Lego's position would logically be "If you install
> > anything that we don't sell, you're on your own".
> 
> Definitely.
> 
> -Kekoa

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:800
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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Kekoa Proudfoot)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 00:53:24 GMT
Original-From: Kekoa Proudfoot <kekoa@Graphics.Stanford.EDU>
Lines: 13

> the only possibility of any [physical damage to the brick would be if
> Lego did a poor hardware design job and you could program something into
> an overload state (like on the old IBM fixed frequency VGA monitors
> ;-).

Er?  Since when you rewrite the firmware, you can take full control of the
i/o pins of the H8, it seems perfectly possible to me to drive inputs as
outputs and fry something you didn't mean to fry...

You have to be careful to make sure you don't do this to the wrong pairs of
ports, if such pairs exist.

-Kekoa

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Dave)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 22:44:16 GMT
Original-From: "Dave" <mudshark-505@worldnet.att.net>
Lines: 8

On Wed, 25 Nov 1998 10:49:11 -0800 (PST), Kekoa Proudfoot wrote:
>Plug-Ins fall into that category, but as far as I'm concerned, firmware is
>firmware, software is software, and firmware is not software.

Firmware isn't software???  Go way back when and see what happend to bring 
about the IBM 
PC clone.  The BIOS reverse engineering and why MACs haven't been cloned.

Firmware *is* software, placed in a chip instead of 'normal' media

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:823
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From: mattdm@mattdm.org (Matthew Miller)
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Subject: Re: legOS
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Dave <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
>Firmware isn't software???  Go way back when and see what happend to bring
>about the IBM PC clone.  The BIOS reverse engineering and why MACs haven't
>been cloned.

I don't think whether license agreements/intellectual property rights apply
to firmware is being questioned. Just whether the license provided by Lego
even says anything at all about the firmware.

-- 
Matthew Miller                      --->                  mattdm@mattdm.org
Quotes 'R' Us                       --->             http://quotes-r-us.org/

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From: kekoa@pixel.Stanford.EDU (Kekoa Proudfoot)
X-Real-Life-Name: Kekoa Proudfoot
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 21:47:59 GMT
Lines: 26

Dave wrote:
>On Wed, 25 Nov 1998 10:49:11 -0800 (PST), Kekoa Proudfoot wrote:
>>Plug-Ins fall into that category, but as far as I'm concerned, firmware
>>is firmware, software is software, and firmware is not software.
>
>Firmware isn't software???  Go way back when and see what happend to bring
>about the IBM PC clone.  The BIOS reverse engineering and why MACs haven't
>been cloned.
>
>Firmware *is* software, placed in a chip instead of 'normal' media

You're drifting from the point.  Why IBM PCs have been cloned and why MACs
have not been has nothing to do with license agreements.  Copyrights are
copyrights.  I cannot, will not, and have not copied the firmware in any
way that I do not consider fair use.  But copyrights are not license
agreements.

Also, perhaps I should have worded things differently:

As far as it's possible to (perhaps incorrectly) read the license
agreement, firmware is firmware, software is software, and firmware is not
software.

It certainly is not clear; that was my point.

-Kekoa

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Eric Hodges)
Subject: RE: legOS
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Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 18:47:55 GMT
Original-From: Eric Hodges <eric.hodges@platinum.com>
Lines: 3

Firmware is software.  It doesn't matter if you burn software into ROM, 
store it on EPROM, store it as PAL settings, core memory values, etc. 
 Software is software, and firmware is software.

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From: kekoa@pixel.Stanford.EDU (Kekoa Proudfoot)
X-Real-Life-Name: Kekoa Proudfoot
Subject: Re: legOS
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Eric Hodges <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
>Firmware is software.  It doesn't matter if you burn software into ROM, 
>store it on EPROM, store it as PAL settings, core memory values, etc. 
> Software is software, and firmware is software.

Is this your opinion?  Or do you have something to back this with?

-Kekoa

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Eric Hodges)
Subject: RE: legOS
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Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 21:53:57 GMT
Original-From: Eric Hodges <eric.hodges@platinum.com>
Lines: 23

It's the law.  Software isn't defined by the media it's stored in or the 
way it is stored.  It doesn't make any legal difference if you distribute 
the software on a CD or printed on the back of a T-shirt.  The copyright 
laws consider software to be any "set of statements or instructions to be 
used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain 
result."( 17 U.S.C ? 101)  Software distributed on ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, etc. 
is still covered by the copyright laws.


-----Original Message-----
From:	Kekoa Proudfoot [SMTP:lugnet.robotics@lugnet.com]
Sent:	Monday, November 30, 1998 11:26 AM
To:	lego-robotics@crynwr.com
Subject:	Re: legOS

Eric Hodges <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
>Firmware is software.  It doesn't matter if you burn software into ROM,
>store it on EPROM, store it as PAL settings, core memory values, etc.
> Software is software, and firmware is software.

Is this your opinion?  Or do you have something to back this with?

-Kekoa

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Paul Speed)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 20:05:44 GMT
Original-From: Paul Speed <pspeed@augustschell.com>
Lines: 31

Just curious, and since you seem to have some information
handy, where is the line between firmware and microcode drawn?  Or
is microcode also considered firmware?
	
	-Paul


Eric Hodges wrote:
> 
> It's the law.  Software isn't defined by the media it's stored in or the
> way it is stored.  It doesn't make any legal difference if you distribute
> the software on a CD or printed on the back of a T-shirt.  The copyright
> laws consider software to be any "set of statements or instructions to be
> used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain
> result."( 17 U.S.C ? 101)  Software distributed on ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, etc.
> is still covered by the copyright laws.
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From:   Kekoa Proudfoot [SMTP:lugnet.robotics@lugnet.com]
> Sent:   Monday, November 30, 1998 11:26 AM
> To:     lego-robotics@crynwr.com
> Subject:        Re: legOS
> 
> Eric Hodges <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
> >Firmware is software.  It doesn't matter if you burn software into ROM,
> >store it on EPROM, store it as PAL settings, core memory values, etc.
> > Software is software, and firmware is software.
> 
> Is this your opinion?  Or do you have something to back this with?
> 
> -Kekoa

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Eric Hodges)
Subject: RE: legOS
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Organization: Platinum Technology
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Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 22:29:26 GMT
Original-From: Eric Hodges <eric.hodges@platinum.com>
Lines: 49

As I understand it, microcode is protected as software.  It doesn't matter 
how you store it or distribute it, but the way it is used.  If it consists 
of instructions for a computer, then it is considered to be a computer 
program and is subject to copyright law.

Why would it be any other way?  Why would microcode or firmware be exempt 
from copyright protection?  How could anyone safely invest in the 
development of either of those if they were?


-----Original Message-----
From:	Paul Speed [SMTP:pspeed@augustschell.com]
Sent:	Monday, November 30, 1998 12:06 PM
To:	'lego-robotics@crynwr.com'
Subject:	Re: legOS

Just curious, and since you seem to have some information
handy, where is the line between firmware and microcode drawn?  Or
is microcode also considered firmware?
	
	-Paul


Eric Hodges wrote:
>
> It's the law.  Software isn't defined by the media it's stored in or the
> way it is stored.  It doesn't make any legal difference if you distribute
> the software on a CD or printed on the back of a T-shirt.  The copyright
> laws consider software to be any "set of statements or instructions to be
> used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a 
certain
> result."( 17 U.S.C ? 101)  Software distributed on ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, 
etc.
> is still covered by the copyright laws.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From:   Kekoa Proudfoot [SMTP:lugnet.robotics@lugnet.com]
> Sent:   Monday, November 30, 1998 11:26 AM
> To:     lego-robotics@crynwr.com
> Subject:        Re: legOS
>
> Eric Hodges <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
> >Firmware is software.  It doesn't matter if you burn software into ROM,
> >store it on EPROM, store it as PAL settings, core memory values, etc.
> > Software is software, and firmware is software.
>
> Is this your opinion?  Or do you have something to back this with?
>
> -Kekoa

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Lines: 54

I guess more specifically, where does computer stop and
hardware start?  According to the law, that is.
	-Paul


Eric Hodges wrote:
> 
> As I understand it, microcode is protected as software.  It doesn't matter
> how you store it or distribute it, but the way it is used.  If it consists
> of instructions for a computer, then it is considered to be a computer
> program and is subject to copyright law.
> 
> Why would it be any other way?  Why would microcode or firmware be exempt
> from copyright protection?  How could anyone safely invest in the
> development of either of those if they were?
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From:   Paul Speed [SMTP:pspeed@augustschell.com]
> Sent:   Monday, November 30, 1998 12:06 PM
> To:     'lego-robotics@crynwr.com'
> Subject:        Re: legOS
> 
> Just curious, and since you seem to have some information
> handy, where is the line between firmware and microcode drawn?  Or
> is microcode also considered firmware?
> 
>         -Paul
> 
> Eric Hodges wrote:
> >
> > It's the law.  Software isn't defined by the media it's stored in or the
> > way it is stored.  It doesn't make any legal difference if you distribute
> > the software on a CD or printed on the back of a T-shirt.  The copyright
> > laws consider software to be any "set of statements or instructions to be
> > used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a
> certain
> > result."( 17 U.S.C ? 101)  Software distributed on ROM, EPROM, EEPROM,
> etc.
> > is still covered by the copyright laws.
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:   Kekoa Proudfoot [SMTP:lugnet.robotics@lugnet.com]
> > Sent:   Monday, November 30, 1998 11:26 AM
> > To:     lego-robotics@crynwr.com
> > Subject:        Re: legOS
> >
> > Eric Hodges <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
> > >Firmware is software.  It doesn't matter if you burn software into ROM,
> > >store it on EPROM, store it as PAL settings, core memory values, etc.
> > > Software is software, and firmware is software.
> >
> > Is this your opinion?  Or do you have something to back this with?
> >
> > -Kekoa

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<366301B8.D22AFA4B@augustschell.com>
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Errrr.... Where does computer stop and _software_ start.
Where is my brain today?
	-Paul


Paul Speed wrote:
> 
> I guess more specifically, where does computer stop and
> hardware start?  According to the law, that is.
>         -Paul
> 
> Eric Hodges wrote:
> >
> > As I understand it, microcode is protected as software.  It doesn't matter
> > how you store it or distribute it, but the way it is used.  If it consists
> > of instructions for a computer, then it is considered to be a computer
> > program and is subject to copyright law.
> >
> > Why would it be any other way?  Why would microcode or firmware be exempt
> > from copyright protection?  How could anyone safely invest in the
> > development of either of those if they were?
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:   Paul Speed [SMTP:pspeed@augustschell.com]
> > Sent:   Monday, November 30, 1998 12:06 PM
> > To:     'lego-robotics@crynwr.com'
> > Subject:        Re: legOS
> >
> > Just curious, and since you seem to have some information
> > handy, where is the line between firmware and microcode drawn?  Or
> > is microcode also considered firmware?
> >
> >         -Paul
> >
> > Eric Hodges wrote:
> > >
> > > It's the law.  Software isn't defined by the media it's stored in or the
> > > way it is stored.  It doesn't make any legal difference if you distribute
> > > the software on a CD or printed on the back of a T-shirt.  The copyright
> > > laws consider software to be any "set of statements or instructions to be
> > > used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a
> > certain
> > > result."( 17 U.S.C ? 101)  Software distributed on ROM, EPROM, EEPROM,
> > etc.
> > > is still covered by the copyright laws.
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From:   Kekoa Proudfoot [SMTP:lugnet.robotics@lugnet.com]
> > > Sent:   Monday, November 30, 1998 11:26 AM
> > > To:     lego-robotics@crynwr.com
> > > Subject:        Re: legOS
> > >
> > > Eric Hodges <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
> > > >Firmware is software.  It doesn't matter if you burn software into ROM,
> > > >store it on EPROM, store it as PAL settings, core memory values, etc.
> > > > Software is software, and firmware is software.
> > >
> > > Is this your opinion?  Or do you have something to back this with?
> > >
> > > -Kekoa

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:883
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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Lageson, Tom)
Subject: RE: legOS
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Original-From: "Lageson, Tom" <tml@TENNANTCO.com>
Lines: 106

Pardon me for butting in on this thread, but hasn't Markus written a new
operating system that doesn't use the Lego firmware?  Isn't he operating
against the chip?  As long as Markus didn't copy the firmware, his operating
system should be able to have the same functionality as Lego's firmware,
right?  Isn't this how one chip base (intel) can have multiple operating
systems (OS/2, Linux, DRDos, etc) running on the same chip that provide the
same essential functionality?

The way I see it (and I am no lawyer), Lego sold me a H8/3297 chip wrapped
in a hunk of plastic compatible with Lego blocks.  They also sold me an
operating system (the firmware) and a development environment (the cute
building block software).  If I decide that I want to install another
operating system on that chip (legOS) and use a different development
environment (NQCC), how could they stop me?  It may invalidate my support
from Lego if I have problems when the alternative operating system is used,
but isn't that a risk that the consumer can take?

I have a lot of ponderous questions, but if someone can answer them, I would
be grateful.

Also, I want to say that I am very thankful for all of the work that Kekoa,
Markus, and others have done to figure out the RCX and its inputs.  It
continues to astound me at the level of technical genius that resides in
this list.

Tom Lageson
tml@tennantco.com


> ----------
> From: 	Paul Speed[SMTP:pspeed@augustschell.com]
> Sent: 	Monday, November 30, 1998 2:43 PM
> To: 	'lego-robotics@crynwr.com'
> Subject: 	Re: legOS
> 
> Errrr.... Where does computer stop and _software_ start.
> Where is my brain today?
> 	-Paul
> 
> 
> Paul Speed wrote:
> > 
> > I guess more specifically, where does computer stop and
> > hardware start?  According to the law, that is.
> >         -Paul
> > 
> > Eric Hodges wrote:
> > >
> > > As I understand it, microcode is protected as software.  It doesn't
> matter
> > > how you store it or distribute it, but the way it is used.  If it
> consists
> > > of instructions for a computer, then it is considered to be a computer
> > > program and is subject to copyright law.
> > >
> > > Why would it be any other way?  Why would microcode or firmware be
> exempt
> > > from copyright protection?  How could anyone safely invest in the
> > > development of either of those if they were?
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From:   Paul Speed [SMTP:pspeed@augustschell.com]
> > > Sent:   Monday, November 30, 1998 12:06 PM
> > > To:     'lego-robotics@crynwr.com'
> > > Subject:        Re: legOS
> > >
> > > Just curious, and since you seem to have some information
> > > handy, where is the line between firmware and microcode drawn?  Or
> > > is microcode also considered firmware?
> > >
> > >         -Paul
> > >
> > > Eric Hodges wrote:
> > > >
> > > > It's the law.  Software isn't defined by the media it's stored in or
> the
> > > > way it is stored.  It doesn't make any legal difference if you
> distribute
> > > > the software on a CD or printed on the back of a T-shirt.  The
> copyright
> > > > laws consider software to be any "set of statements or instructions
> to be
> > > > used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a
> > > certain
> > > > result."( 17 U.S.C ? 101)  Software distributed on ROM, EPROM,
> EEPROM,
> > > etc.
> > > > is still covered by the copyright laws.
> > > >
> > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > From:   Kekoa Proudfoot [SMTP:lugnet.robotics@lugnet.com]
> > > > Sent:   Monday, November 30, 1998 11:26 AM
> > > > To:     lego-robotics@crynwr.com
> > > > Subject:        Re: legOS
> > > >
> > > > Eric Hodges <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
> > > > >Firmware is software.  It doesn't matter if you burn software into
> ROM,
> > > > >store it on EPROM, store it as PAL settings, core memory values,
> etc.
> > > > > Software is software, and firmware is software.
> > > >
> > > > Is this your opinion?  Or do you have something to back this with?
> > > >
> > > > -Kekoa
> 

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:884
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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (George McBay)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Lines: 126

The included end-user licence agreements that came with Mindstorms had dire
warnings about the illegality of reverse engineering the product
in any way.  These types of 'agreements', to my knowledge, aren't ever
really challenged by the companies who issue them.  They usually serve
merely for the company to prove they are making every attempt to protect
their intellectual property.  One other thing that did catch my eye though,
was the claim of a patent pending on the IR communication system the RCX
uses....

-----Original Message-----
From: Lageson, Tom <tml@TENNANTCO.com>
To: 'lego-robotics@crynwr.com' <lego-robotics@crynwr.com>
Date: Monday, November 30, 1998 4:22 PM
Subject: RE: legOS


>Pardon me for butting in on this thread, but hasn't Markus written a new
>operating system that doesn't use the Lego firmware?  Isn't he operating
>against the chip?  As long as Markus didn't copy the firmware, his
operating
>system should be able to have the same functionality as Lego's firmware,
>right?  Isn't this how one chip base (intel) can have multiple operating
>systems (OS/2, Linux, DRDos, etc) running on the same chip that provide the
>same essential functionality?
>
>The way I see it (and I am no lawyer), Lego sold me a H8/3297 chip wrapped
>in a hunk of plastic compatible with Lego blocks.  They also sold me an
>operating system (the firmware) and a development environment (the cute
>building block software).  If I decide that I want to install another
>operating system on that chip (legOS) and use a different development
>environment (NQCC), how could they stop me?  It may invalidate my support
>from Lego if I have problems when the alternative operating system is used,
>but isn't that a risk that the consumer can take?
>
>I have a lot of ponderous questions, but if someone can answer them, I
would
>be grateful.
>
>Also, I want to say that I am very thankful for all of the work that Kekoa,
>Markus, and others have done to figure out the RCX and its inputs.  It
>continues to astound me at the level of technical genius that resides in
>this list.
>
>Tom Lageson
>tml@tennantco.com
>
>
>> ----------
>> From: Paul Speed[SMTP:pspeed@augustschell.com]
>> Sent: Monday, November 30, 1998 2:43 PM
>> To: 'lego-robotics@crynwr.com'
>> Subject: Re: legOS
>>
>> Errrr.... Where does computer stop and _software_ start.
>> Where is my brain today?
>> -Paul
>>
>>
>> Paul Speed wrote:
>> >
>> > I guess more specifically, where does computer stop and
>> > hardware start?  According to the law, that is.
>> >         -Paul
>> >
>> > Eric Hodges wrote:
>> > >
>> > > As I understand it, microcode is protected as software.  It doesn't
>> matter
>> > > how you store it or distribute it, but the way it is used.  If it
>> consists
>> > > of instructions for a computer, then it is considered to be a
computer
>> > > program and is subject to copyright law.
>> > >
>> > > Why would it be any other way?  Why would microcode or firmware be
>> exempt
>> > > from copyright protection?  How could anyone safely invest in the
>> > > development of either of those if they were?
>> > >
>> > > -----Original Message-----
>> > > From:   Paul Speed [SMTP:pspeed@augustschell.com]
>> > > Sent:   Monday, November 30, 1998 12:06 PM
>> > > To:     'lego-robotics@crynwr.com'
>> > > Subject:        Re: legOS
>> > >
>> > > Just curious, and since you seem to have some information
>> > > handy, where is the line between firmware and microcode drawn?  Or
>> > > is microcode also considered firmware?
>> > >
>> > >         -Paul
>> > >
>> > > Eric Hodges wrote:
>> > > >
>> > > > It's the law.  Software isn't defined by the media it's stored in
or
>> the
>> > > > way it is stored.  It doesn't make any legal difference if you
>> distribute
>> > > > the software on a CD or printed on the back of a T-shirt.  The
>> copyright
>> > > > laws consider software to be any "set of statements or instructions
>> to be
>> > > > used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a
>> > > certain
>> > > > result."( 17 U.S.C ? 101)  Software distributed on ROM, EPROM,
>> EEPROM,
>> > > etc.
>> > > > is still covered by the copyright laws.
>> > > >
>> > > > -----Original Message-----
>> > > > From:   Kekoa Proudfoot [SMTP:lugnet.robotics@lugnet.com]
>> > > > Sent:   Monday, November 30, 1998 11:26 AM
>> > > > To:     lego-robotics@crynwr.com
>> > > > Subject:        Re: legOS
>> > > >
>> > > > Eric Hodges <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
>> > > > >Firmware is software.  It doesn't matter if you burn software into
>> ROM,
>> > > > >store it on EPROM, store it as PAL settings, core memory values,
>> etc.
>> > > > > Software is software, and firmware is software.
>> > > >
>> > > > Is this your opinion?  Or do you have something to back this with?
>> > > >
>> > > > -Kekoa
>>

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From: "Ralph Hempel" <rhempel@bmts.com>
X-Real-Life-Name: Ralph Hempel
Subject: Re: legOS
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Lines: 59

Lageson, Tom wrote in message 
<813599F6EBBFD011B40400805F310615DD6B9A@dcnts05.tennantco.com>...
>Pardon me for butting in on this thread, but hasn't Markus written a new
>operating system that doesn't use the Lego firmware?  Isn't he operating
>against the chip?  As long as Markus didn't copy the firmware, his operating
>system should be able to have the same functionality as Lego's firmware,
>right?  Isn't this how one chip base (intel) can have multiple operating
>systems (OS/2, Linux, DRDos, etc) running on the same chip that provide the
>same essential functionality?
>
>The way I see it (and I am no lawyer), Lego sold me a H8/3297 chip wrapped
>in a hunk of plastic compatible with Lego blocks.  They also sold me an
>operating system (the firmware) and a development environment (the cute
>building block software).  If I decide that I want to install another
>operating system on that chip (legOS) and use a different development
>environment (NQCC), how could they stop me?  It may invalidate my support
>from Lego if I have problems when the alternative operating system is used,
>but isn't that a risk that the consumer can take?
>


This is, in fact, the nub of the question at hand. If I buy ANY single
board computer with proprietary firmware on it, I can choose to replace
the firmware and as a consequence lose any support the vendor may provide.

I don't really think the legOS situation is much different. As long as
substantial reverse-engineering and plagerism is not done, then there is
no real issue.

A close parallel springs to mind. The older engineering types among us may
remember the HP41 and the "synthetic programming" we could do on it. There
was even a magazine and special ROM devoted to hacking this calculator!

In any case, the group made it clear that the activity was NOMAS, which
stood for NOt MAnufacturer Supported - if you fried your HP41, too bad!

In fact, Hewlett Packard gave some unofficial support for the project and
the HP41 users group wish list was considered when the HP48 flagship
was designed.

Which brings me to my point. TLG has a golden opportunity to capitalize
on the dedication of the legOS developers and even release an "advanced"
product - although the support might be a bit hairy. I can't see teaching
university level real-time programming with the Mindstorms interface, but
a professor could use the RIS and legOS as a great intro to realtime with
not too much trouble.

Hmmmm - is anybody thinking the same kind of thoughts......

Cheers,

Ralph Hempel - P.Eng

------------------------------------------------------
The train stops at the train station,
The bus stops at the bus station,
So why am I sitting at a work station?
------------------------------------------------------
Reply to:      rhempel at bmts dot com
------------------------------------------------------

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From: kekoa@pixel.Stanford.EDU (Kekoa Proudfoot)
X-Real-Life-Name: Kekoa Proudfoot
Subject: Re: legOS
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George McBay <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
>One other thing that did catch my eye though, was the claim of a patent
>pending on the IR communication system the RCX uses....

Where did you see that?  It didn't catch my eye.

-Kekoa

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From: kekoa@pixel.Stanford.EDU (Kekoa Proudfoot)
X-Real-Life-Name: Kekoa Proudfoot
Subject: Re: legOS
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Eric Hodges <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
>It's the law.  Software isn't defined by the media it's stored in or the 
>way it is stored.  It doesn't make any legal difference if you distribute 
>the software on a CD or printed on the back of a T-shirt.  The copyright 
>laws consider software to be any "set of statements or instructions to be 
>used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain 
>result."( 17 U.S.C ? 101)  Software distributed on ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, etc. 
>is still covered by the copyright laws.

The issue at stake is not the copyright.  It's the license agreement.

-Kekoa

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From: kekoa@pixel.Stanford.EDU (Kekoa Proudfoot)
X-Real-Life-Name: Kekoa Proudfoot
Subject: Re: legOS
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Kekoa Proudfoot <kekoa@pixel.Stanford.EDU> wrote:
>Eric Hodges <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
>>It's the law.  Software isn't defined by the media it's stored in or the 
>>way it is stored.  It doesn't make any legal difference if you distribute 
>>the software on a CD or printed on the back of a T-shirt.  The copyright 
>>laws consider software to be any "set of statements or instructions to be 
>>used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain 
>>result."( 17 U.S.C ? 101)  Software distributed on ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, etc. 
>>is still covered by the copyright laws.
>
>The issue at stake is not the copyright.  It's the license agreement.

And I should add, as Brian pointed out, that the question is not whether
firmware is software, it's whether firmware is Software.  As I said when I
started all of this, read your license agreement again, and tell me whether
or not it's obvious that firmware is Software given what's written there.

And I should add that, I pointed this out as something in addition to what
others had pointed out were other reasons why reverse engineerng the RCX
was not going to be a big deal.

-Kekoa

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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (George McBay)
Subject: Re: legOS
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It was printed on its own page, which seemed to be a last minute
addendum/add-in to the package, and covered that fact plus the warnings
against reverse engineering.  Perhaps its not included in the earlier
mindstorms boxes?

I'm at work currently, and so I don't have access to my mindstorms kit.
Perhaps someone else on the list knows what I'm talking about
and can cite the exact wording?

-----Original Message-----
From: Kekoa Proudfoot <lugnet.robotics@lugnet.com>
To: lego-robotics@crynwr.com <lego-robotics@crynwr.com>
Date: Monday, November 30, 1998 5:59 PM
Subject: Re: legOS


>George McBay <lego-robotics@crynwr.com> wrote:
>>One other thing that did catch my eye though, was the claim of a patent
>>pending on the IR communication system the RCX uses....
>
>Where did you see that?  It didn't catch my eye.
>
>-Kekoa

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Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 23:29:50 GMT
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Kekoa Proudfoot wrote:
> The issue at stake is not the copyright.  It's the license agreement.


The issue of the license agreement does state one is not given
permission
to reverse engineer 'the Software'.  The software is defined as 'The
Software
included on the MINDSTORMS LEGOI product'.  I read this as including the
firmware.

That being said, I do believe one is not allowed to reverse engineer
any peice of SW on the LEGO brick, CD, or any of their little stupid
code which is compiled and run by their brick.

However, this type of protection generally protects against clones.
That is specifically why it was added to the MAC agreement.  This
simply means to clone something you have to do so in a clean room
environment.

I do think it applies to people putting their own OS onto an RCX.
However, it is not enforceable.  If someone attempted to, from the
Lego point of view, undermine their product, product identity or
some other assest; then the laywers could come a knockin'.

tim

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:906
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Path: lugnet.com!lugnet
From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Bill Hollingsworth)
Subject: Re: legOS
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 02:54:26 GMT
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Lines: 20

On Mon, 30 Nov 1998, Ralph Hempel wrote:

> Which brings me to my point. TLG has a golden opportunity to capitalize
> on the dedication of the legOS developers and even release an "advanced"
> product - although the support might be a bit hairy. I can't see teaching
> university level real-time programming with the Mindstorms interface, but
> a professor could use the RIS and legOS as a great intro to realtime with
> not too much trouble.
> 
> Hmmmm - is anybody thinking the same kind of thoughts......

Hi,
     I have been thinking this.  It seems like an official Lego release of
the legOS system would be quite beneficial to TLG, especially since I read
in the wired.com article that around 50% of the MS sales goes to adult
men.  
     In response to another comment, I will ask this question:  What is
the likelihood of an RCX clone?

- B.H.

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:909
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Path: lugnet.com!lugnet
From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Subject: Re: legOS
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<Pine.A41.3.96.981130214334.38352A-100000@archa13.cc.uga.edu>
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 03:40:41 GMT
Original-From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
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Bill Hollingsworth writes:
 > On Mon, 30 Nov 1998, Ralph Hempel wrote:
 > 
 > > Which brings me to my point. TLG has a golden opportunity to capitalize
 > > on the dedication of the legOS developers and even release an "advanced"
 > > product - although the support might be a bit hairy. I can't see teaching
 > > university level real-time programming with the Mindstorms interface, but
 > > a professor could use the RIS and legOS as a great intro to realtime with
 > > not too much trouble.

No.  All they need to do is nothing.  Obviously we are doing fine
without their help.  Then again, maybe Kekoa et al are Lego plants!
Maybe I'm a secret Lego employee?!?  Bwahahahahahaha!

 >      I have been thinking this.  It seems like an official Lego release of
 > the legOS system would be quite beneficial to TLG, especially since I read
 > in the wired.com article that around 50% of the MS sales goes to adult
 > men.  

I have a sweatshirt that reads: "Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult."

 >      In response to another comment, I will ask this question:  What is
 > the likelihood of an RCX clone?

Damn low.  You can't beat the price for the RCX alone (think of the
plastic molding charges), and even if you could, the MS package itself
is too good a deal.  Basically, only Lego could profitably put
together a MS.

-- 
-russ nelson <rn-sig@crynwr.com>  http://crynwr.com/~nelson
Crynwr supports Open Source(tm) Software| PGPok |   There is good evidence
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315 268 1925 voice |   that freedom is the
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   |   cause of world peace.

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:910
Newsgroups: lugnet.robotics
Path: lugnet.com!dbaum
From: dbaum@spambgoneenteract.com (Dave Baum)
X-Real-Life-Name: Dave Baum
Subject: Re: legOS
X-Newsreader: MT-NewsWatcher 2.4.4
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Message-ID: <dbaum-3011982145000001@pm3-4-4.chi-focal.enteract.com>
References: <01BE1C68.E0F54720.eric.hodges@platinum.com> 
<F39BzL.2GC@lugnet.com> <36632A6E.F9C0A1AD@best.com>
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 03:45:00 GMT
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In article <36632A6E.F9C0A1AD@best.com>, lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Tim L
Casey) wrote:

>That being said, I do believe one is not allowed to reverse engineer
>any peice of SW on the LEGO brick, CD, or any of their little stupid
>code which is compiled and run by their brick.
>

Many software license agreements appear to forbid reverse engineerining,
but there is considerable legal debate over whether the these licenses are
actually binding.

As for the copyright, there is legal precedent (at least in the U.S.) for
reverse enginnering falling under "fair use" of copyrighted material.  In
one particular case (I think it was Sega vs. Galoob, although it could've
been Nintendo instead of Sega), the judgement specified that reverse
engineering was acceptable under fair use because of several conditions. 
These included the fact that there was a legitimate business reason for
the reverse engineering, they were making a product intended to be
compatable with the software they reverse engineered, and there was no
other way of obtaining the information necessary for compatability.  

Dave

-- 
reply to: dbaum at enteract dot com

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:914
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Path: lugnet.com!lugnet
From: Brett Carver <brett@sr.hp.com>
X-Real-Life-Name: Brett Carver
Subject: Re: legOS
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<3662FA98.9C12DBA5@augustschell.com>
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 07:09:24 GMT
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Paul Speed wrote:
> ... where is the line between firmware and microcode drawn?
> Or is microcode also considered firmware?

I'm not going to touch the legal issues being talked about, but let me
try to address the technical ones.

A micro-processor (CPU) is composed of a bunch of registers, adders,
buffers, memory I/O locations, etc.  In order for anything to take
place, bit patterns (representing data) needs to be moved around thru
these parts.  A data value must be moved from memory (whos address must
be computed) and into a register.  This must be repeated for a second
value.  Then they must be sent thru the adder and back into a third
memory location.  Thus you have A = B + C.

It is the responsibility of the microcode to handle all that.

The next level up would be the firmware.  This is software written in an
assembled or compiled language (compiled into microcode instructions)
that do the work of talking to the keyboard, display, disk drive etc. 
When you turn a machine on, it's the firmware (in the form of a
bootstrap program) that gets things going so that the machine will
respond.

At some point the firmware will load some kind of an operating system
(OS).  On some simple machines the firmware and OS may be the same
thing. But for something like a PC the OS is the environment in which
software can be run to do useful work (DOS, Windows '95, etc).

The final (for this discussion) level is the software application.  This
is your Doom game or spreadsheet or whatever.

It's ALL software.  The difference is what level of abstraction from the
underlying hardware each operates in, and what media it resides on.

I could go on, but I've probably already put half of you to sleep...

:-)

-- 
                                                        Brett Carver
                                                        brett@sr.hp.com
                                                        (707) 577-4344

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:915
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From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Tim L Casey)
Subject: Re: legOS
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<3662FA98.9C12DBA5@augustschell.com> <36639624.1F9F@sr.hp.com>
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 07:28:48 GMT
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Brett Carver wrote:

> A micro-processor (CPU) is composed of a bunch of registers, adders,
> buffers, memory I/O locations, etc.  In order for anything to take
> place, bit patterns (representing data) needs to be moved around thru
> these parts.  A data value must be moved from memory (whos address must
> be computed) and into a register.  This must be repeated for a second
> value.  Then they must be sent thru the adder and back into a third
> memory location.  Thus you have A = B + C.

Interesting.  I view the actual chip implementation as software as well.
Having seen a number of chips being built from scratch (like 3), and
seeing the simulators for these chips run, then seeing the chip
production
source code (which is a lot like C, but with a lot less flexability.)

That source code is what most people think of H/W.  It is really just
a form of S/W which is implemented in silcon.  At least from my point of
view.

tim

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:926
Newsgroups: lugnet.robotics
Path: lugnet.com!lugnet
From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Markus L. Noga)
Subject: Re: legOS
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<36639AB0.BF384112@best.com>
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 14:40:03 GMT
Original-From: "Markus L. Noga" <Markus.Noga@inrialpes.fr>
Lines: 19

Tim L Casey wrote:
> Interesting.  I view the actual chip implementation as software as well.
> Having seen a number of chips being built from scratch (like 3), and
> seeing the simulators for these chips run, then seeing the chip
> production
> source code (which is a lot like C, but with a lot less flexability.)
> 
> That source code is what most people think of H/W.  It is really just
> a form of S/W which is implemented in silcon.  At least from my point of
> view.

You have a strong point here. Since the advent of VHDL, Verilog and the
like, hardware is created with programming languages when full-custom
design istn't worth the bother.

-- 
Markus L. Noga			noga@inrialpes.fr
INRIA Rhône-Alpes		http://www.inrialpes.fr/
IPR Universität Karlsruhe   	http://wwwipr.ira.uka.de/

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:928
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Path: lugnet.com!lugnet
From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Markus L. Noga)
Subject: Re: legOS
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<F398DJ.KEy@lugnet.com>
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 14:55:24 GMT
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Lines: 16

Ralph Hempel wrote:
> Which brings me to my point. TLG has a golden opportunity to capitalize
> on the dedication of the legOS developers and even release an "advanced"
> product - although the support might be a bit hairy. I can't see teaching
> university level real-time programming with the Mindstorms interface, but
> a professor could use the RIS and legOS as a great intro to realtime with
> not too much trouble.

In fact, my University in Germany is starting to think aloud whether
they should buy some 20 Mindstorms for an introductory robotics class
;-)

-- 
Markus L. Noga			noga@inrialpes.fr
INRIA Rhône-Alpes		http://www.inrialpes.fr/
IPR Universität Karlsruhe   	http://wwwipr.ira.uka.de/

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:933
Newsgroups: lugnet.robotics
Path: lugnet.com!lugnet
From: "Ralph Hempel" <rhempel@bmts.com>
X-Real-Life-Name: Ralph Hempel
Subject: Re: legOS
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Message-ID: <F3AnK5.7tJ@lugnet.com>
References: 
<813599F6EBBFD011B40400805F310615DD6B9A@dcnts05.tennantco.com> 
<F398DJ.KEy@lugnet.com> <3664035C.B61B783@inrialpes.fr>
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 16:04:05 GMT
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Markus L. Noga wrote in message <3664035C.B61B783@inrialpes.fr>...
>
>In fact, my University in Germany is starting to think aloud whether
>they should buy some 20 Mindstorms for an introductory robotics class
>;-)
>


In fact, I'll bet that most "real" engineering students would buy
one for themselves...it's a necessary as an HP48, right? :-)

Cheers,

Ralph Hempel - P.Eng

------------------------------------------------------
The train stops at the train station,
The bus stops at the bus station,
So why am I sitting at a work station?
------------------------------------------------------
Reply to:      rhempel at bmts dot com
------------------------------------------------------

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:940
Newsgroups: lugnet.robotics
Path: lugnet.com!lugnet
From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Brian Stormont)
Subject: License agreement nuances
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<F39BzL.2GC@lugnet.com> <36632A6E.F9C0A1AD@best.com>
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 17:23:03 GMT
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Tim L Casey wrote:

> Kekoa Proudfoot wrote:
> > The issue at stake is not the copyright.  It's the license agreement.
>
> The issue of the license agreement does state one is not given
> permission
> to reverse engineer 'the Software'.  The software is defined as 'The
> Software
> included on the MINDSTORMS LEGOI product'.  I read this as including the
> firmware.
>
> That being said, I do believe one is not allowed to reverse engineer
> any peice of SW on the LEGO brick, CD, or any of their little stupid
> code which is compiled and run by their brick.

But, if you read further, the License Agreement also says you may "use the
Software on any single computer" and you may "use the Software on a second
computer so long as the first and second computers are not used
simultaneously".  If the Software (with a capital S) is said to include the
RCX firmware, too, then we are ALL in violation if we have the RCX running
around the room while simultaneously working on the win95 Mindstorms
development environment, since it is being used simultaneously on two
computers (the RCX brick and the win95 machine).  Unfortunately, TLG didn't
include a definition of what constitutes a computer.  Perhaps we can start a
thread on that.  (*duck*)

Based on the agreement wording, I assume they are referring to the
conventional PC software running on win95.

Again,  my dispute is not with whether the firware is software. It doesn't
really matter.  The dispute is whether reverse-engineering the firmware is
forbidden by the License Agreement.   Based on my reading of it, it is not.
All the bullet points in the "Grant of License" section appear to refer to
conventional PC-based software.

Amusingly enough, the Agreement concludes by saying this:  "This Agreement
may not be modified except in writing duly signed by an authorized
representative of the LEGO Group and you."   Funny, I don't recall signing
this original agreement, and yet is supposed to be considered binding? (we
could start another thread on that topic, too...;-)

-brian

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:946
Newsgroups: lugnet.robotics
Path: lugnet.com!lugnet
From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Eric Hodges)
Subject: RE: License agreement nuances
X-Nntp-Gateway: lego-robotics@crynwr.com
Organization: Platinum Technology
Message-ID: <01BE1D29.DED94C40.eric.hodges@platinum.com>
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 20:55:27 GMT
Original-From: Eric Hodges <eric.hodges@platinum.com>
Lines: 65

-----Original Message-----
From:	Brian Stormont [SMTP:brian@projo.com]
Sent:	Tuesday, December 01, 1998 9:23 AM
To:	lego
Subject:	License agreement nuances

Tim L Casey wrote:

> Kekoa Proudfoot wrote:
> > The issue at stake is not the copyright.  It's the license agreement.
>
> The issue of the license agreement does state one is not given
> permission
> to reverse engineer 'the Software'.  The software is defined as 'The
> Software
> included on the MINDSTORMS LEGOI product'.  I read this as including the
> firmware.
>
> That being said, I do believe one is not allowed to reverse engineer
> any peice of SW on the LEGO brick, CD, or any of their little stupid
> code which is compiled and run by their brick.

But, if you read further, the License Agreement also says you may "use the
Software on any single computer" and you may "use the Software on a second
computer so long as the first and second computers are not used
simultaneously".  If the Software (with a capital S) is said to include the
RCX firmware, too, then we are ALL in violation if we have the RCX running
around the room while simultaneously working on the win95 Mindstorms
development environment, since it is being used simultaneously on two
computers (the RCX brick and the win95 machine).  Unfortunately, TLG didn't
include a definition of what constitutes a computer.  Perhaps we can start 
a
thread on that.  (*duck*)

I don't believe this is true.  The code executing on the RCX can't execute 
on the PC and vice versa.  The RCX code executes on one CPU, the PC code 
executes on another.  There are 2 pieces of software covered by one 
agreement.

Based on the agreement wording, I assume they are referring to the
conventional PC software running on win95.

The wording clearly states that "the Software" includes all software in the 
Mindstorms package.

Again,  my dispute is not with whether the firware is software. It doesn't
really matter.  The dispute is whether reverse-engineering the firmware is
forbidden by the License Agreement.   Based on my reading of it, it is not.
All the bullet points in the "Grant of License" section appear to refer to
conventional PC-based software.

Amusingly enough, the Agreement concludes by saying this:  "This Agreement
may not be modified except in writing duly signed by an authorized
representative of the LEGO Group and you."   Funny, I don't recall signing
this original agreement, and yet is supposed to be considered binding? (we
could start another thread on that topic, too...;-)

These license agreements are refered to as "shrinkwrap" agreements because 
you agree to them by opening the shrinkwrap.  You don't have to sign 
anything.

I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade, and I don't think Lego cares if 
you reverse engineer their software (as long as you don't distribute the 
results in any way), but I don't want anyone to convince themselves that 
the agreement provides a legal loophole.

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.robotics:953
Newsgroups: lugnet.robotics
Path: lugnet.com!lugnet
From: lego-robotics@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Subject: RE: License agreement nuances
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Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 21:05:39 GMT
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Lines: 18

Eric Hodges writes:
 > These license agreements are refered to as "shrinkwrap" agreements because 
 > you agree to them by opening the shrinkwrap.  You don't have to sign 
 > anything.
 > 
 > I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade, and I don't think Lego cares if 
 > you reverse engineer their software (as long as you don't distribute the 
 > results in any way), but I don't want anyone to convince themselves that 
 > the agreement provides a legal loophole.

Shrink-wrap licenses have no legal force.  Now, can we get back to
hacking and building?

-- 
-russ nelson <rn-sig@crynwr.com>  http://crynwr.com/~nelson
Crynwr supports Open Source(tm) Software| PGPok |   There is good evidence
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315 268 1925 voice |   that freedom is the
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   |   cause of world peace.

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