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

From: Kevin Dean
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Intel's excuse for non-free WiFi binary firmware
Date: Thu, 15 May 2008 09:56:48 -0400

I'm not entirely sure that's true. The Wifi on the Openmoko Freerunner
doesn't contain Microcode (I don't think...) but the GSM system DOES.
I know that in the UK a modifyable GSM system is unlawful but I don't
beleive the same is true in the US.

I'm going to venture to guess that this is a half-truth at best...
Even if it's the full truth, there are STILL wifi drivers that do not
contain microcode so it's kind of irrelevant. It's illegal to crack
DRM in the USA but it doesn't mean there are no Free Software
applications to bypass that DRM. :)

On Thu, May 15, 2008 at 8:51 AM, Peter Lutz <address@hidden> wrote:
> 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?
> Peter
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> address@hidden

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