Troubled waters

General discussion about calculators, Swiss Micros or otherwise
Olaf
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:15 am
Location: France

Re: Troubled waters

Post by Olaf » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:12 pm

Getting the source code (and the tooling) and being able to rebuild a flashable binary seems mandatory at some point.

- My biggest fear being that at some point SM could stop supporting the DM42 fw, while Free42 would still continue to be fixed.
SM does a great job at this time to provide firmware when Free42 gets updated, with some acceptable delay.
What would happen when David stops updating the firmware ? That's a question to be asked. Some will say, "ok some vintage HP calcs have buggy ROMs and people just deal with it". Ok, but it's 2018...

- The other aspect is being able to extend the current Free42 implementation to add features (some personal fork). This would be _nice to have_ to unleash the C developer in us, while being less critical for the vast majority.

I hope there is some way to have SM protect their own IP while being fully compliant with the Free42 licence, as we have no interest in getting the DM42 product discontinued for this very reason, and no reason to accept a 100% closed product neither.

Now, there is a big job to be done by SM on the fw architecture & legal side.

Hoping the best...
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HP48G, DM42 (# 276), a slide rule and a C compiler :-)

Thomas_ER
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:19 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Troubled waters

Post by Thomas_ER » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:30 pm

Olaf wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:12 pm
Getting the source code (and the tooling) and being able to rebuild a flashable binary seems mandatory at some point.

- My biggest fear being that at some point SM could stop supporting the DM42 fw, while Free42 would still continue to be fixed.
SM does a great job at this time to provide firmware when Free42 gets updated, ...
...
Hoping the best...
I don't see, why Swissmicros should stop supporting the DM42.
If SM adheres to the rules of the GPL, this is only fair to Thomas Okken and the customer, and it will also help to continue to keep and get many satisfied customers.
Hopefully Michael will give us an satisfactory statement, regarding their plans.
[ HP48/49/50/42S/WP34/HP Prime/ DM42 (#00185+00318) ]

Olaf
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:15 am
Location: France

Re: Troubled waters

Post by Olaf » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:38 pm

Thomas_ER wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:30 pm
Olaf wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:12 pm
Getting the source code (and the tooling) and being able to rebuild a flashable binary seems mandatory at some point.

- My biggest fear being that at some point SM could stop supporting the DM42 fw, while Free42 would still continue to be fixed.
SM does a great job at this time to provide firmware when Free42 gets updated, ...
...
Hoping the best...
I don't see, why Swissmicros should stop supporting the DM42.
If SM adheres to the rules of the GPL, this is only fair to Thomas Okken and the customer, and it will also help to continue to keep and get many satisfied customers.
Hopefully Michael will give us an satisfactory statement, regarding their plans.
Well, without talking directly about the current GPL issue, the product might be unsupported at some point... In my hand is a phone which will no longer be supported in 2 years or so... (And that's a pity too!)
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HP48G, DM42 (# 276), a slide rule and a C compiler :-)

keithdalby
Posts: 495
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: Troubled waters

Post by keithdalby » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:51 pm

Phones need security patches, calculators do not. Phones last a couple of years, calculators last a couple of decades. Phones are used for communication, calculators are used for calculation.

They're different.

I really want to give SwissMicros the benefit of the doubt with this GPL issue.

Olaf
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:15 am
Location: France

Re: Troubled waters

Post by Olaf » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:27 pm

Of course I won't make a confusion between calcs and phones, but I hope business rules differs enough from smartphone market, so that we don't depend on some custom ROM to implement Thomas Okken's bugfixes in the future, when a new flagship calc steals all attention and all the love from SM team (uhm, DM43, DM48, ??)

I too want to be confident in a reasonable solution from SwissMicros about the GPL issue and communication about their firmware support policy.
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HP48G, DM42 (# 276), a slide rule and a C compiler :-)

keithdalby
Posts: 495
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: Troubled waters

Post by keithdalby » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:47 am

I do not wish to be provocative but I wanted to share....

Ever one to support projects in which I believe, I have just placed an order for my third SwissMicros machine. I understand that folk have legitimate concerns about the legalities of how and when SwissMicros will share the source code, but I've not been let down by Michael before and I have faith and confidence that this whole GPL situation will be resolved. I don't understand the legal issues, but I do appreciate the hard work the SwissMicros [small] team do to keep RPN alive.

We are not talking about a big company ripping off the little man here, we are talking about a cottage industry of two working to create engineering works of art with a build quality that approaches HP themselves - they're getting jolly close.

No, I will not be boycotting SwissMicros over an issue of legal interpretation.

I hope common sense prevails and all parties reach a resolution that satisfies them all.

KimWood
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:43 am

Re: Troubled waters

Post by KimWood » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:15 am

My post of earlier today on HP Calculator Forums...

"RE: Would you recommend SwissMicros?

Maybe it's time to step back for a minute and let SwissMicros respond. Note that this is a two person company that is pushing out hardware and software updates at a furious rate. Let's not assume the worst just yet. My dealings with SwissMicros have proven them to be nothing less than trustworthy, generous and honourable. Maybe we should wait a little for their considered response."

Just my two cents worth based on a lifetime's experience.

Regards,

Kim

Thomas Okken
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Location: New Jersey, USA
Contact:

Re: Troubled waters

Post by Thomas Okken » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:50 am

keithdalby wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:47 am
We are not talking about a big company ripping off the little man here, we are talking about a cottage industry of two working to create engineering works of art with a build quality that approaches HP themselves - they're getting jolly close.
Right, so because SwissMicros is not a big company, they can do whatever they want. Software licenses don't apply to them. Is that what you're saying?
keithdalby wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:47 am
No, I will not be boycotting SwissMicros over an issue of legal interpretation.
Yep, I guess that is what you're saying.
keithdalby wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:47 am
I hope common sense prevails and all parties reach a resolution that satisfies them all.
The only resolution that will satisfy me is for SwissMicros to obey the terms of the GPL, under which they obtained the Free42 source code. That code without which the DM42 would not exist.

They should have released full source code, from which anyone could build their own firmware image, when they started selling the first beta units. This source code release is long, long overdue. And Michael's claim in his email to a Barry Mead that "the source code has been available forever" does not indicate intent to fix this; quite the opposite.

So yes, let's hear a clear statement of intent from SwissMicros. But let's hear it soon. This situation has dragged on far too long already, and workload is not a plausible excuse for this any more, if it ever was in the first place.

emece67

Re: Troubled waters

Post by emece67 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:21 am

Since the announcement of the release of the beta units of the DM42 I've been wondering in buying or not one unit. Being a previous owner of some Swissmicros products, and really nice ones, this new flagship looked quite interesting, even impressive. Only its price (I'm not saying that it may be excessive, only that I'm not sure if I want to spent such quantity in an, otherwise and in my case, relatively cheap hobby) keep me from pulling the trigger. Although, as the time passed and the source code was not released, I also developed some feeling of suspicion.

But now this issue with the license, that I think I understand good enough, keeps me from buying this machine at all. I understand that previous work by Swissmicros is awesome, as is the work by Thomas Okken in the Free42 project (which I use daily in my Android phones). To keep it simple, the DM42 would not exist if Free42 had not been existed before. Without Free42, the DM42 wouldn't be here for years and, when ready, its price wouldn't be what is now. Thus, Swissmicros and the current owners of any DM42 machine got a benefit from Thomas Okken's work on Free42 and, IMHO, all them must honor the license he decided to use when releasing his work, which seems to me a meager payment for such really impressive work.

I'm also worried now for the future wp43s now being developed. It is based upon the DM42 hardware but, would it contain any proprietary code? I mean, will the owners of such machine be able to fully re-compile its firmware from its full source code (as is the case in the wp34s)? Would them be able to DIY modify any part of its firmware (again à la wp34s)?

Regards.

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Walter
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Location: Close to FRA, Germany

Re: Troubled waters

Post by Walter » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:29 pm

emece67 wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:21 am
I'm also worried now for the future wp43s now being developed. It is based upon the DM42 hardware but, would it contain any proprietary code? I mean, will the owners of such machine be able to fully re-compile its firmware from its full source code (as is the case in the wp34s)? Would them be able to DIY modify any part of its firmware (again à la wp34s)?
AFAIK (I'm no SW person) we will handle the 43S as far as possible like we handled the WP 34S. I.e. our code would be as public as the WP 34S code is. I'm not aware of any code from anybody else needed for the 43S yet.

What we definitely want to employ is hardware almost identical to the one of DM42 -- supplied by SwissMicros.
DM42 SN: 00041 --- Follower of Platon.

HP-35, HP-45, ..., HP-50, WP 34S, WP 31S, DM16L

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