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Re: DFSG violations: non-free but no contrib

Faidon Liambotis wrote:
> IMHO this is FUD well spread by companies that didn't want their IP
> "exposed". Atheros cards don't have any firmware; you can transmit in
> whatever frequency you want to with ath5k/ath9k -- ath9k is distributed
> by Atheros themselves while ath5k is nowdays endorsed by them.

In which case things have changed within the past couple of years ---
after all, the whole purpose of the Atheros HAL was to inforce those FCC
limits. Do you have any references? Like, to an FCC statement of policy
change? If so, it would be extremely useful to have.

>> (Incidentally, this is one reason why mobile phone handset vendors are
>> so paranoid about reflashing phones. A phone with a maliciously
>> programmed GSM stack would turn into a rather efficient cellphone jammer.)
> That's also false. You can easily jam cellphones using equipment bought
> from your local radio shop.
> There are even (perfectly legal) commercial products that do exactly that.

Well, yeah, but those devices are either (a) home built and therefore
unlicensed, which means they're either illegal or operating under some
sort of exemption as experimental hardware, or either (b) commercial and
licensed, which means they're operating within the regulators' limits.
(Or (c), in that they're commercial and illegal.)

That's a totally different matter from taking a piece of licensed
equipment where the vendor has promised the regulator that it operates
according to the rules, and then using that unmodified equipment to
violate those rules. Sure, you know and I know that changing the
software counts as a modification, but that's not how the regulators think.

Luckily it's very unlikely that Debian will ever having anything to do
with the labyrinthing maze of potential lawsuits that are involved in
GSM protocol stacks... what *is* the Debian project's policy on using
Debian with safety-critical systems, anyway? There are a number of
licenses that specifically prohibit the use of their software in such
environments; do these count as DSFG-free? Is there any such software in

David Given

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