If this is your first visit, be sure to
check out the FAQ by clicking the
link above. You may have to register
before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages,
select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
The microcode is not burned into the chip because running it from RAM allows us to have a shorter design cycle -- it lets us avoid having to re-fab the chips if we need to change microcode before launch.
There are a few different kinds of code that all get lumped together as "firmware". Some is horizontal microcode driving hardware state machines, some is really a big chunk of the driver that runs on a general purpose CPU on chip, and there are a few examples in between. Our microcode is closer to the hardware state machine end of the spectrum (where it's really part of the hardware design) but it all gets lumped into the "non-free" repository together.
Then let me ask in other way, why is that firmware not in the chip?
Putting the firmware on a chip doesn't suddenly make it 'free', it still remains proprietary. Perhaps putting the firmware on a chip will give Debian users a clear conscience, but from a 'freedom' perspective nothing has fundamentally changed.
IMO Debian users and priests should take a good look at what they are doing, understand how ridiculous it is and develop a more sane approach to firmware.
Time for a car analogy:
If you have a car that is built to open specs, and another one that is rented, but not yours, it's pretty clear which one can be better seen during night, and how long ago the meal was cooked. And after all, that's what counts.