[BBC-Micro] MOS6 - Any programmers want to see a free BBC Microfirmware?

Rick Murray rick at rs432.net
Sun Oct 3 20:14:25 BST 2010

On 03/10/2010 19:49, F. Haroon wrote:

>>> Pace still have the 8-bit OS stuff, according to their
>>> IP specialist.
> What do Pace still want with all this?  Are they ever using it?

Not the way to look at it.

   * Do we actually own the IP to "this old crap"?
   * Are we _sure_?
   * Can we be assed to *pay* somebody to verify this?
   * If so, can we devote the time and resources to find it, do
     something with it, etc?

I don't think any company with long-forgotten IP sees a need to hold on 
to that stuff (erm, Apple excepted, but Apple have always been an 
exception... in an "Abort on data transfer" context, that is!); but 
rather the time and effort and expenditure to what returns? And what if 
they release something to the community that they didn't actually have 
the rights to? 99.9% of us would say "big deal, it ain't the '80s no 
more", but that leaves 1 copyright troll who might enjoy the chance of 
easy money.

It is a royal PITA, but I can understand why they'd prefer just to 
ignore it. And for this reason, given Acorn's somewhat messy history, I 
don't think we'll be seeing any open sourced BBC firmware.

About the best we can hope for is for various sources, if anybody still 
has them and the media is still readable, to be "oops leaked", and the 
copyright holder to not take any steps to enforce said copyright (as 
would appear to be the current case). It won't be good enough for 
Debian, but until somebody wins the lottery and makes an offer to *buy* 
the IP, I don't think we'll get anywhere.

You know, I first raised this issue in 1999 on... was it comp.sys.acorn 
or one of the argo groups? I forget. Anyway, I wasn't the only one 


That's the sound of fast forwarding, specifically to a little over a 
decade later. And the same question being asked. <sigh>

See you in 2022! ;-)

Best wishes,


Rick Murray, eeePC901 & ADSL WiFI'd into it, all ETLAs!
BBC B: DNFS, 2 x 5.25" floppies, EPROM prog, Acorn TTX
E01S FileStore, A3000/A5000/RiscPC/various PCs/blahblah...

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