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Re: DFSG violations in Lenny: Summarizing the choices

On Sat, 2008-11-08 at 14:11 -0500, Theodore Tso wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 07, 2008 at 12:47:01PM +0000, David Given wrote:
> > 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.
> There are corporate lawyers who are very much afraid that the FCC
> could, if they were alerted to the fact that someone had figured out
> how to reverse engineer the HAL and/or the firmware to cause their
> WiFi unit to become a "super radio" that could transmit on any
> frequency, that the FCC could prohibit the *hardware* from being sold
> anywhere in the US. 

Why are they making hardware that can transmit on *any* frequency? Why
are they not making hardware that transmits in the 2.4GHz ISM band
perhaps with firmware to 'fine tune' it? Seems strange to pour lots of
money into making an all-band radio then locking it to a 500MHz band.

> So realistically, let's be honest with ourselves.  Not supporting
> devices that require non-free firmwares is not going to help make the
> world a better place.  What it will probably do is that users, once
> they find out that that a Debian install will result in various bits
> and pieces of their hardware being non-functional until they figure
> out how to download various magic firmware components, or manually
> configuring the non-free repository, will probably simply switch to
> another distribution, such as Fedora or Ubuntu.  At which point there
> will be even *fewer* Debian users, and so Debian will have even *less*
> leverage.

Lets not forget there are people who will/do explicitly move *to* Debian
because of its DFSG and freeness.


> 						- Ted

Karl Goetz <karl@kgoetz.id.au>

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