[maemo-developers] [maemo-developers] RE: Nokia 770 sources...

From: Andrew Barr andrew.james.barr at gmail.com
Date: Wed Aug 30 23:12:06 EEST 2006
On Wed, 2006-08-30 at 15:56 -0400, Michael Wiktowy wrote:

> Unfortunately, I don't think the waters are all that clear in this
> situation.

No, unfortunately they're not.

> IANAL but it is my understanding that most countries have RFI laws
> that do not allow RF chip manufacturers to allow their users to modify
> their chips to switch to licensed bands or use an amount of power that
> brings it into a licenseable realm. It is not just the case of the law
> saying that a user can't operate in certain realms ... the user can't
> even be allowed to *possibly* operate in certain realms. So if an
> embedded chip is flexible enough, the manufacturers nerf it with a
> binary blob. 

The legal reasoning has been debated extensively on LKML and elsewhere
multiple times, but I think it's worth pointing out that not everyone
buys the regulation argument. That the regulations require withholding
source code is, as I understand it, the prevailing interpretation among
corporate attorneys rather than language in any particular regulation.
Do a search at lkml.org for the recent ipw3945 discussions for details.

In all reality the world's communications regulation agencies need to
address the issue of open source code and software radios with updated
regulations, and in the very least WLAN vendors will no longer have an
excuse to hide behind, should that be what they are doing--I suspect at
least some of them are.

Andrew Barr | http://www.oakcourt.dyndns.org/~andrew/

"Buzzword detected (core dumped)"
  -- seen on linux-kernel at vger.kernel.org

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