<br><div><span class="gmail_quote">On 8/30/06, <b class="gmail_sendername">Koen Kooi</b> <<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>> wrote:</span><blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="border-left: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 0.8ex; padding-left: 1ex;">
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----<br>Hash: SHA1<br><br>Kalle Vahlman schreef:<br><br>> Hmm, I've always been under the impression that any kind of<br>> combination of binary-only and GPL code would be in violation... IANAL
<br>> of course.<br><br>Slightly a different issue, but a nice read anyway:<br><a href="http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/ols_2006_keynote.html">http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/ols_2006_keynote.html</a><br><br>"closed source kernel modules are unethical"
<br><br>regards,<br><br>Koen</blockquote><div><br><br>Unfortunately, I don't think the waters are all that clear in this situation.<br><br>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.
<br><br>So you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. Open up everything to comply with the GPL and violate RF Spectrum laws in some countries. Wrap a binary blob to satisfy RF regulators and you run a fowl of the GPL.
<br><br>Both these demands are put in place for good reasons. However, they are mutually incompatible. The courts will have to sort out which takes precedence but it would be my guess that the RFI law would as violating it could threaten lives (broadcasting in aircraft radio navigation bands, scrambling police frequencies, etc.) where as violating the GPL would be rarely life-threatening.
<br><br>The way that some manufacturers get around the problem is to nerf things at the hardware level. If the chip can't do it at that level, no amount of software/firmware hacking will get around that and they are free to open up all the specs to the hardware.
<br><br>I think where the conflict really occurs is when the manufacturer software-nerfs the chip too much and cuts out some vital access that programmers/users want. Then they refuse to put in the legal/development time and resources to change their firmware to relax things a bit because they would then have to seek approval from the regulatory body yet again.
<br><br>Nasty vicious circle :[<br> </div></div>