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

From: Alexandre Oliva
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Intel's excuse for non-free WiFi binary firmware
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 01:03:33 -0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.2 (gnu/linux)

On May 15, 2008, "Kevin Dean" <address@hidden> wrote:

> 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.

Unlawful because of private (contract) law, i.e., GSM licensing
agreements, or something else?

As for WiFi, I'm told it's not that FCC bans modifyable WiFi, it's
that some vendors would rather not take the chances of failing
certification because they fail to impose hardware restrictions on the
user, and instead implement them in user-modifyable software, and then
they do their best to make sure users don't get to be able to modify
it.  IOW, they don't care about their customers' freedoms to put join
us in the trenches ;-)

> It's illegal to crack DRM in the USA but it doesn't mean there are
> no Free Software applications to bypass that DRM. :)

Exactly.  Denying access to the source code just because if you had it
you could break the law is exactly the sort of thing that DRM and WiFi
vendors do.  Why don't they just go lock everyone in jail, because
otherwise people *could* commit crimes.  Images from Minority Report
and thoughts from 1984 come to mind.

Alexandre Oliva
Free Software Evangelist  address@hidden,}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! =>
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   address@hidden,}

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