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

From: Karl Goetz
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Intel's excuse for non-free WiFi binary firmware
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 15:57:46 +0930

On Thu, 2008-05-15 at 19:28 +0200, Sam Geeraerts wrote:
> Peter Lutz wrote:
> > I was reading through Intel's License FAQ for their wireless drivers, here's
> > what it says:
> > 
> > 
> I attended an OpenMoko talk at FOSDEM 2007 and they said that their GSM 
> stack is not open because FCC don't allow it. The reason is that it's 
> either illegal or unsafe (I forgot which one) to broadcast radio waves 
> with more power. People are protected from doing this (either 
> accidentally or on purpose) by not being able to change the strength of 
> the signal.

Your only allowed (In AUS and USA at least) to use certain parts of the
band. the argument is (aiui) that if your device can go outside teh
other bands you'll obviously start breakin the law.

> I don't know how valid that argument is. I'd think that there wouldn't 
> be a problem if you make the hardware so that it can't go beyond a 
> certain strength. It seems to me that that's also the only way to make 
> sure it stays within the limits.

Its sort-of valid (the same argument applies with HAM radio gear, but it
is posable to get HAM gear that will "unlock" so you can use it on all
frequencies, even though your not meant to do so).

> As far as I know, the WiFi cards that work with libre software have 
> their firmware in ROM, so everything's in hardware.

Or have been liberated.

Karl Goetz <address@hidden>

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