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Re: [RFC]: firmware-ipw2200, acceptable for non-free?

Francesco Poli wrote:
> On Thu, 8 Mar 2007 09:46:05 +1000 Kel Modderman wrote:
>> On Thursday 08 March 2007 04:23, Francesco Poli wrote:
> [...]
>>> However, the license does not meet the DFSG (it's not even close to
>>> meeting them...): has Intel been contacted and asked to provide the
>>> firmware (with source code) in a DFSG-free manner (for instance,
>>> under the terms of the GNU GPL v2, or of the Expat/MIT license)? 
>>> Intel has recently had some press coverage about their Free Software
>>> drivers for integrated graphics chips: I appreciated that move,
>>> maybe they are willing to get some more good publicity by freeing
>>> this firmware...
>> Quoting from: 
>> http://intellinuxwireless.org/index.php?n=FAQ&s=license
>> [quote]
>> Q. The license for the binaries needed with the newer projects
>> (ipw3945 and  iwlwifi) seems much cleaner than the license for the
>> ipw2100 and ipw2200. Can you change the terms of the older license?
>> [ ipw2100 and ipw2200 specific ]
>> A. Unfortunately, no. Those binaries contain intellectual property
>> licensed  from third parties, and Intel must follow certain
>> contractual obligations in  licensing for those components. The
>> ipw3945 and iwlwifi related binaries are  all Intel-developed, and we
>> are able to use a simplified license for that  product.
>> [/quote]
> "We would really love to be more permissive, but we cannot, 'cause that
> other evil guy forbids us."
> As I keep reading answers like this, I'm less and less convinced of
> their good faith...  All this pointing fingers to unspecified "third
> parties" and passing the buck to them seems like a cheap excuse: if they
> managed to get permission to use the "intellectual property" (whatever
> that means) of some "third parties", they are probably also able to get
> permission to disclose source code in a DFSG-free manner, as long as
> they really want to.
> After all, Intel has deep pockets, they could even pay enough money to
> obtain copyright transfer, if necessary...
> Disappointed.
For some companies I would agree, but as has been said, intel has been
opensourcing a lot lately, and as that FAQ says, later versions are
free, which shows they must have some concern.

For a lot of wifi cards (dunno about Intel's) it's regulatory - they
can't sell cards that can be easily modified to exceed FCC limits, so
they limit it in a binary firmware. If they gave away the source, people
could easily modify the card to exceed the legal output power, and thus
they can't give away source.

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