It's soon X-Mas: Free the modules


I would like to see an increased interest in the HP-41. The Clonix/Nov-32 and MLDL-2000 are good examples of initiatives that help the HP-41 stay alive and useful. More module images in the open is another factor that would increase the usefulness of the 41.

There is of course the issue of copyright. But, I would like to see a community effort to get module images released and into the hands of people who could use them.

Such an initiative should increase the sales of the clonix and similar products.

It really boils down to sharing. This is exactly why open source has created such a tidal wave in the IT industry - sharing increases interest which in turn increases contributions.

Eventually, the value of your collection could even benefit from increased demand :)

So, what do you say? Pull together and get them released? Pay those who does the work of releasing the images (including getting copyright ok)?

The ball is on the playing field.


I'm not convinced that such a drive would increase interest one iota.

The 41 is a totally obsolete piece of hardware that finds friends in longtime users and enthusiasts.

But even with all the modules, it is hopelessly inefficient, expensive, slow, fragile and tempermental for any new, real work. OK for someone who has already the knowledge, but no significant body of new younger people are going to trouble themselves with learning how to use one!

Nevertheless, if you can get images for free, it would certainly make the hobbiests home jobs easier, though at the same time it would end what little commercial support for the 41 still exists.


i really would like to state that there is no further text in here. hm. very obviously caught by the "hick's forum paradoxon"...
cheers, hans



I have no illusions that young people would be drawn to the HP-41. None what so ever. However, there are a few hundred 41's being sold every year on eBay. There is enough interest to keep the calcs reasonably priced. Some do buy them for their usability. If more of the old boys could see their calc become a bit more useful, it could create one or even two iotas of interest.


Hi Geir, guys;

although with just short timeslots for these days, I think I have to add a few lines to this thread.

Hard to oppose Bill´s thoughts, though. In any case, I see no way to commercially support any of the discontinued models in the software area. I like very much to write programs in RPN because I feel as if they demand some of my brain cells to keep working (would pheromones be created this way, too?) But today, the only NEW model that allows us to go ahead trying something in pure RPN is the HP33S. (HP12C and family are indeed another choice)

I take my (little spare) time programming the HP97, Voyagers, HP41 series, HP42S, etc., but they are just for personal satisfaction. IF, only IF, I have some extra MCODE images, I'd surely test them and list them (no time for this now, though), but I see no way to commercialize them. I know that some guys here have the physical modules, I'm not talking about these. And as for a final thought, what good would these images be for those who do not own an HP41 or an emulator? Time´s gonne when these modules were offered for sale (as I mentioned above, some can be bought, though), and if you are not using an original HP41, you cannot use them. I know I´ll offend some financial principles with the next lines, but... I myself see no harm having these images running in my HP41 for fun only, no commercial earning as a result. I paid for the HP41, someone paid for the modules, they are not available for sale anymore, they are obsolete, and I do not know who´d use an HP41 to perform any task today, as for a first option.

My 2¢.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 12 Sept 2006, 5:35 p.m.


I'm interested in the Clonix. I realize the HP-41 is obsolete. But, I'm sure like other, I'm just playing with it for the enjoyment. Many of the algorithms in the various modules are timeless. It's interesting to study them.

If someone were to sell "pre-built" Clonix modules with things like the Real Estate pac or the Financial Decisions Pac or Math/Stat - I think that would be great.

The process of getting a module image into Clonix may be a bit daunting for some people. But if it came pre-loaded then I'd bet that a few could be sold on eBay. The numbers likely to be sold are so small that I think it would likely not draw much attention and I agree that little if any economic harm is done to the copyright holder.


What copyright holder? There is no U.S. copyright on the software in the Real Estate, Financial Decisions, Math/Stat ROMs, and possibly no copyright on them in some other countries. Prior to the Berne convention taking effect in the US in the late 1980s, for a work to be copyrighted it *MUST* bear a copyright notice, and those ROMs did not. There were a few limited exceptions to that law, but the ROMs do not qualify under any of them. Thus they are in the public domain.

The manuals, however, are copyrighted.

[My opinion, based on my own study of US law. I am not a lawyer.]

Edited: 12 Sept 2006, 6:58 p.m.


So, the matter of releasing the module images into public domain would be the simple task of making the images and putting them on a web site?

I for one would be willing to pay a bit for someone's time to do just that. I would love an HP-41 module image repository with just about all the modules in there.


Hi Geir, guys;

the only two images I have that I could not find in the known sources are the Card Reader revision E and an Extended IO with a curious wrong checksum error. I edited the image file and added the correct checksum from another similar image and it did O.K....

And of course, I'd like very much having access to such information, too. Anyway, it should be harmless to remind that we all know from the Terms of Use that:

You (we) also agree not to use this forum to request or trade copies of copyrighted material.
Each one of us know what does it mean having access to such coded material. I know that the copyright issue is not actually being discussed here, but it is somehow relevant due to the HP ownership of the code still available inside the ROM modules. As we are not explicitly requesting copies neither trading copyrighted material, I think so far the thread is doing fine, but we should all be aware of the possibility of trespassing the basic terms, even without the intention to do so. I myself will only post after being sure I'll not add unwanted information.

Best regards.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 13 Sept 2006, 2:53 a.m.


There are only few modules that I know that exist that I could not get, so I guess there are enough sources of module images. An those are so exotic, that there really is no practical use. But then my objective is not just to collect but to use.

Having gone through the design and 'marketing' process of the MLDL2000 I would say that the market is somewhat limited for customized modules, compared to the number of HP41's that are exchanged on Ebay evey week. I am more or less sold out now (there is still waiting list), but would not mind another production run of the MLDL2000, but I need commiments for at least 25 units.

With the existing user base of Clonix and MLDL2000 I would have expected some more mcode activity on this forum, but I have not seen it yet.

I can only appeal to the owners of such devices (and the users of emulators) to publish the results of their work, user code, mcode or complete ROM images. I have done this with the complete MLDL2000 design for the sake of sharing the fun. Also the Clonix is an open design, and many ROMS are published with sources (like 41Z, which has great documentation).



There are a few modules that I cannot seem to find (notably the ASTROROMs and the FORECAST roms). It would be great to have all modules in one repository (like at TOS). Meindert; Do you find all the modules you need at TOS or have you found some elsewhere (in that case it would be good to get those posted at TOS as well).


TOS is a great sources, and for me that is the ROM repository. I have found some ROMs in private exchanges. I do not know the ASTROROM and FORECAST, but have no real need for it so far. If I get a module from somewhere, it can only be posted on TOS if the author gives permision to do so. I try to keep out of this copyright discussions.



Given the time, I could be interested in embarking on a project to solicit copyright OK from various sources to complete the HP-41 module image repository (at TOS or elsewhere). To do that, it would be helpful to have a list of modules that are not on TOS and hence need copyright OK to release it. Anyone?


Dear Sir,

disregarding your point of view -- I am not a lawyer either -- as mentioned on my modules list I will not offer any ROM images (copies of firmware) as long as I have no permition in written from the copyright owner. Just as some kind of respect or esteem for the programmers work.

Well, I see a difference in using ROMs and trading them. It makes not too much sense to lock those ROMs away instead of using them widely. But, who out there still uses the HP-41 (real or emulated) and who is just collecting memorabilia, in real or (more economical) with nice eumulators?



This is not directed at Eric. :-)

I see HP12c emulators for sale on ebay and other sites all the time. They are even called HP12c or HP12c platinum. Look just like the real thing.

Do these guys pay HP anything for doing that?

Does HP care that someone is selling something like that?

If not, does that have any bearing on the rom question?

I wonder.


How do you get permission from the "copyright owner" when there is not a copyright?


So you conclude that all modules before the late 80's bearing no copyright notice is in the public domain?


A good question:

How do you get permission from the "copyright owner" when there is not a copyright?

Short answer: no copyright => no owner => no permission => no copy on the internet, never ever!

Long anser: If I regard good SW as piece of art like a painting or a sculpture, then this brain-work possesses something like _intellectual property_ of the programmer or artist. This has nothing to do with rights, laws, or the Berne convention. I have some kind of respect for such brain-work.

Now comes the idea to make money with such a piece of brain-work. For that we need the laws, the Berne convention and copyright. IMHO the _ownership of the copyright_ is with the programmer's employer. Well, the chance is quite low to make big $$$ with old HP41-ROMs, so HP will not find a lawyer to enforce it, I suppose.

But, frankly, I am quite glad you found a loophole to free several calculator ROMs. As a collector I'd be glad *all* ROMs (at least all Pioneers) could escape from HP, with some help from HP. :-)



Short answer: no copyright => no owner => no permission => no copy on the internet, never ever!

Wrong. No copyright => public domain => anything goes.

By definition, if the work is not copyrighted, then no one has the right to restrict copying or distribution of the work.

In the United States, works published before 1989 are not copyrighted if they do not bear a copyright notice, with certain limited exceptions as provided by US law. The exceptions mainly deal with the case where the copyright notice was accidentally omitted, and the publisher made an effort to correct the omission, or where the work was first published in another country at least 30 days before first publication in the US, and has a valid copyright in that country.

I think you're confusing "no copyright" with the case where there is a copyright, but the copyright owner cannot be located.


I am confusing? No - I _am_ confused! Your reply "No copyright => public domain => anything goes." is .. it is... <gasp>.. - *I am shocked*!!

OK, with my old-european numskull I have a different point of view. In the literal sense of the written law you may be correct, but what I tried to tell is the difference between 'intellectual property' and the resulting 'copyright proprietor'. I do hold in high esteem pieces of art like the HP-41, your Nonpareil, and some other great technical feat -- with or w/o copyright notice.

But, to be perfectly honest, I like to use your Nonpareil and you have all reasons to be proud about it _and_ that loophole you found to distribute a bunch of ROMs (what about the HP-10C?).

So you see, there are beating two hearts in my chest: I'd like to get all ROMs but would not distribute them. I see parallels to product piracy: is it OK to copy books, music, the design of a watch, or a remedy for HIV? With this subject drift I am outside the rules of this forum -




Most of all of "literature" in existence to day is in the public domain. There is nothing illegal nor unethical about printing and distibuting Shakespeare, or Chaucer, or etc. The same thing goes for most everything else.

Copying is not theft. It is copying. Copyright protection is not and should not beindefinite. In fact hte distortion is that a few very powerful industries have been lobbying to make copyright indefinite (the music industry for instance) where there is no historical precedent to do so.

It was only very recently that the maximum copright extention fro written works was extended.

"Intellectual Property" is not something absolute. Most all "intellectual property" has at its core, a majority of work that is copied from previous work. The truly original part of any work is relatively small.

But there are gray areas and areass where some clever lawyers have bent and twisted the "rules." See for instance the lawsuit campaign wagedby the Hinckley Company against a plethora of boatbuilders whom they claimed "copied" the Hiunclkey Picnic Boat. It is a pretty outrageous case of the "copyright" being absurd, because there was no fundamental core idea that was truly new.


[My opinion, based on my own study of US law. I am not a lawyer.]

And what value would you put on that opinion.

Here's a legal tip: The one that wins most such lawsuits, isn't the one with the most rightous position... it is the one with the most money.

However, I really doubt anyone cares what is done with that software.

Edited: 13 Sept 2006, 3:50 p.m.


I wrote:

[My opinion, based on my own study of US law. I am not a lawyer.]

Mike wrote:

And what value would you put on that opinion.

The question isn't what value *I* put on my opinion. The question is what value anyone else should put on my opinion. And the answer is "not any more than they paid for it".

The one that wins most such lawsuits, isn't the one with the most rightous position... it is the one with the most money

But sometimes being right is sufficient to ward off a lawsuit. For instance, Roland send Cease and Desist letters to the people who wrote an emulator for the MT-32 synthesizer. Although the emulator used the original MT-32 ROMs, the ROM images were not provided by the writers of the emulator. Nevertheless, they pointed Roland's lawyers at 17 U.S.C. 504, regarding works not bearing a copyright notice. When Roland was unable to produce any evidence that the ROMs in question were elgible to have their copyright restored, they backed down.


Hi Diego,

the HP-41 may be obsolete for the broad market,

but I know there are still some engineers who use HP-41 for daily work,

mainly in the surveying area.

And there are still new developments made for the HP-41,

either software or hardware...

OT: Do you attend Allschwil2006 ?

Best Regards



I use the HP-41 every day (it's my alarm clock, calendar and reminder, short-notes, statistical analyzer, ephemeris, and yes; my calculator).

As for Allschwil2006; I'd love to attend, but I am elsewhere at that time :(


Hi, Raymond;

I'm sorry, I'm a bit confused: although you followed my post up, you wrote 'Hi, Diego', and somehow you commented my words. Anyway, let me go ahead!

I myself do not consider the HP41 an obsolete device, neither its design, because we can even interface it with currently available, hightech devices, by using current components wiht new designs (as mentioned). These currently available components were not available at the time the HP41 was introduced, but they perfectly work with its specifications. I wrote that the HP41 is obsolete jut to agree with the cold market analysis, and mainly to complete my thoughts, and I agree with your words completely! 8^)

About Allshwil2006: although I still belive you were actually asking Diego about this, I'd only add that Iwould like very much being there, but there is a big ocean and a too small balance account opposing to it... Why couldn´t these facts trade place with each other?


Luiz (Brazil)

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