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[gNewSense-users] Intel's excuse for non-free WiFi binary firmware

From: Peter Lutz
Subject: [gNewSense-users] Intel's excuse for non-free WiFi binary firmware
Date: Thu, 15 May 2008 07:51:48 -0500

I was reading through Intel's License FAQ for their wireless drivers, here's what it says:

Each of the wireless adapters requires a corresponding microcode or firmware image to be loaded in order to function. The microcode for the ipw3945 driver (ieee80211 based) also requires the use of a user space regulatory daemon. All of those binaries are distributed as binaries under a proprietary, free to redistribute (but not modify), license.
Their excuse for not allowing modification of these firmware images is this:

To operate a radio device, the hardware/firmware combination needs to be FCC (and equivalent in other countries) certified; this excludes end user modification which would void the certification.

I was curious, does anyone know if this is actually true? Do all WiFi drivers have this restriction, or are there ways around it that Intel is not mentioning? Will this prevent gNewsense from ever having ANY WiFi drivers, if they all use non-modifiable firmware?


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