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Clearance For New Linux Wireless Driver

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the room-turned-out-to-be-clean dept.

Wireless Networking 113

An anonymous reader writes "The Software Freedom Law Center has given legal clearance to OpenHAL, a wireless component for Linux, based on their pro-bono review of the code. This announcement dispels allegations of infringement on Atheros' proprietary HAL software. 'We believe that this outcome will clear the way for eventual acceptance of a new wireless driver into the Linux kernel,' said John Linville, the Linux kernel maintainer for wireless networking."

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Excellent! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20061245)

Now if only we could get something decent for Broadcom hardware....

Re:Excellent! (5, Interesting)

blhack (921171) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061293)

Now if only we could get something decent for Broadcom hardware....
we do have something decent for Broadcom hardware. Link [berlios.de]

Re:Excellent! (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061795)

that is not "decent".
"acceptable substitute when nothing better is available" is stretching it a bit in fact.

Re:Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20063559)

It works fine! I use it all the time.

Re:Excellent! (1)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063665)

Yeah, what isn't decent about bcm43xx? Works great for me... and is very near to becoming feature-complete with respect to the Windoze drivers.

Re:Excellent! (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065007)

Yeah, what isn't decent about bcm43xx? Works great for me...

Exactly. Works great for you. It only works for some BCM43xx chipsets, that's what's not decent about it.

Re:Excellent! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20061861)

Actually, it sucks arse.
I have three different Broadcom chipsets supposedly handled by the drivers. One of them works well. The other two barely at all, with lots of dropouts and other problems. This on several different distros too. I invariably end up using ndiswrapper for stability and reliability.

Re:Excellent! (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064991)

Amen to this. bcm43xx should not have been made available with the kernel, cause it's nowhere near production readiness for more than a few specific systems. The BCM4386 rev2 I have in my laptop simply won't play nice with bcm43xx no matter what. I can never get a connection to stay up for more than a few minutes, and I never get full 54g speed.
On the other hand, ndiswrapper works reliably, using the Windows drivers from the laptop manufacturer's web site.

Re:Excellent! (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066073)

I've seen the same thing with the REAL drivers in Windows itself, so it's not just the reverse engineered replacement that drops things randomly sometimes.

Re:Excellent! (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064927)

The bcm43xx "drivers" aren't complete drivers, and require you to obtain proprietary drivers which fwcutter cuts out a piece of, and calls when running.
That's not native drivers any more than using ndiswrapper is, and legally on much thinner ice than calling the entire driver through a wrapper.

And, considering that bcm43xx causes problems for a lot of users (never getting full g speed, line dropping intermittently or even freezes), I can't honestly recommend it except for experimenting by those who live somewhere it's legal to reverse engineer (fwcutter is based on reverse engineering, else it wouldn't know which parts to cut).

Re:Excellent! (1)

Anaerin (905998) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065041)

The bcm43xx "drivers" aren't complete drivers, and require you to obtain proprietary drivers which fwcutter cuts out a piece of, and calls when running.
You mean like IVTV does, then (Which has made it into the kernel doing just this?)

fwcutter is based on reverse engineering, else it wouldn't know which parts to cut
Says whom? Perhaps (highly unlikely but possible) they ran a (Pseudo-Code):

For i = 1 To Length(File)
Return = Firmware_Load(SubString(File,i,Length(File)))
If Return Then
Exit For
End If
Next
FirmwareStart = i
For i = FirmwareStart To (Length(File) - FirmwareStart
Return = Firmware_Load(SubString(File,FirmwareStart,i)
If Return Then
Exit For
End If
Next
FirmwareEnd = i
I know, totally ridiculous, but possible...

Re:Excellent! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20066091)

silly mods...
You are wrong.
1) fwcutter just cuts out the firmware. Most wlan drivers today need firmware. It is completely different from using ndiswrapper. firmware doesn`t run on your cpu, a windows otoh does. The reason they made fwcutter is that the license on the firmware probably doesn't allow redistribution (or, that there is really no license info available). So in contrast to what you are posing, the drivers are native.

2) Latest versions start to become much better on the few chipsets I own. Some are PPC, so forget about ndiswrapper.

Re:Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20068367)

silly mods...
How so? The parent to your post isn't modded.

What *I* want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20061677)

Is a Linux handheld with a multi-touch sensitive screen (like the one the iPhone has) which supports web browsing (including flash, java, etc.) complete with image scaling by pinching (the scaling should apply equally well to the flash, java, etc.).

Of course, it needs the wireless capacity to achieve internet access, though it should be able to do that whether not I have signed up with a cell phone carrier (i.e. through my wireless router, public hotspots, etc.).

In other words, I want the browser and interface parts of the iPhone, only they should not be broken.

Re:Excellent! (1)

bazald (886779) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061741)

Now if only we could rid ourselves of Broadcom hardware....
There. I corrected that for you.

Re:Excellent! (5, Insightful)

visualight (468005) | more than 7 years ago | (#20062411)

My impression of Broadcom hardware is 100% based on my experience using their products on Linux, and imo Broadcom is the suck.

I've noticed that when an application or gadget doesn't work well on MS Windows, people blame the application or the gadget, not Windows. But those same people blame Linux for every application/gadgets shortcomings.

There are more Desktops running Linux everyday though and one day vendors will start to realize that when their hardware "doesn't work" on Linux *a lot* of people will see that as a reflection of their product, not the Linux Kernel.

For myself, I don't even address driver stability in conversation anymore, I just go straight to "vendor x makes crap hardware".

Re:Excellent! (4, Interesting)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 7 years ago | (#20062755)

you know that's pretty insightful, IMO. I didn't really realize this was how I felt until you just said it. When I was a windows only guy, I blamed the hardware, or worse, just assumed it couldn't be done (despite knowing better). I never was at the point where a _blamed_ linux, just understood that it hadn't caught up with the hardware yet. Now that linux has caught up with all my hardware and almost all the hardware I've encountered out in the world, I more and more blame the hardware for failures on my linux machines. I've come to trust the code to work.

Re:Excellent! (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065229)

I really can't believe that you got modded Insightful.

Although hardware and driver design can be tightly coupled, the quality of one does not imply anything about the quality of the other. For example, I've always considered Nvidia to make pretty good hardware. For a really long time, they did not provide a Linux driver. By your logic, it would seem, "Nvidia made crap hardware." Right up until someone decided to flip a switch and loose their driver upon the Linux community. By your reasoning, flipping that switch suddenly made all that hardware suddenly not suck. Your arguments are inane and FUD.

The simple truth is that sometimes manufacturers don't support all operating systems. I can't get Windows 95 drivers for many new hardware devices--that doesn't mean that they make crap hardware just because it doesn't support my OS of choice. Don't like that I'm talking about out-of-date software? It doesn't support the newest release of OpenBSD or FreeBSD, either, despite the fact that there may be a Linux binary driver.

You're obviously welcome not to buy hardware that isn't going to work with your system, but don't disparage that hardware. Disparage the company for refusing to support your OS if you must. Disparage them for not having open specs, certainly. But it's not a hardware problem.

Re:Excellent! (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066641)

WWWWWWhhhhooooosshh.

"But it's not a hardware problem."

No kidding. Did anything in my comment imply that I do not understand this? My comment was about market forces, consumer pressure on Vendors to perform when it comes to support what I argue (in the same comment) is an operating system that is becoming more mainstream everyday. This is a trend that Linux does not share with BSD, Win95, Amiga, and the Commodore Vic20.

In other words I'm suggesting that IF it is reasonable for a consumer to expect his webcam to "just work" on WindowsXP, THEN it is BECOMING more reasonable THESE DAYS to expect the same when using a Linux Distribution.

I don't think you actually read what I posted. Scanned maybe.

Re:Excellent! (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066687)

No kidding. Did anything in my comment imply that I do not understand this?
Yes. I think it was the part where you said:

I just go straight to "vendor x makes crap hardware".
I read your entire post the first time. You certainly made clear that you know what the problem is, right up until the last statement. My Nvidia analogy should have indicated that I understood that--i.e. flipping a switch magically made the hardware not crap anymore. The problem is that you seem to put forth information which may be a false conclusion based on poor analysis. You'll say "X makes crap hardware" when it's not necessarily the hardware that's at fault. You're spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the manufacturer just because they don't support your favored OS. Broadcom might work perfectly well on Windows--but you'll claim that they make crap hardware because of its poor Linux support.

Re:Excellent! (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067081)

Dude.

"I just go straight to..." is obviously skipping a step. Nothing vague, no indication that I"m unaware of the step I skipped.

"you favorite OS.." carries an implication of niche, which I have emphatically denied. It is not "favorite os", it is an O/S that *was* niche, but now is *not*. I'll frame my own rhetoric, thanks.

If someone using Windows bitched about his dongle not working and he blamed the manufacturer for sell him junk, you would not be harping on him (I assert).

I AM ARGUING THAT LINUX HAS REACHED (or is reach*ing*) A PLACE WITHIN THE MARKET THAT BRINGS WITH IT THAT SAME LEVEL OF EXPECTATION. -----this is the point you can/should argue against!

jeez, talk about poor analysis.

Re:Excellent! (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#20070349)

If someone using Windows bitched about his dongle not working and he blamed the manufacturer for sell him junk, you would not be harping on him (I assert).
It may be true for a lot of people, because Windows is such a dominant OS. I, however, acknowledge the difference.

Back when I still ran Windows, I had the displeasure of owning an ATI All-in-Wonder graphics card. Periodic reinstalls were a chore, because the drivers were quite unstable. Install them in the wrong order, and pieces of your card wouldn't work (video capture, perhaps, or syncing with audio.) Install them before certain codecs were installed in Windows and the driver seemingly failed to understand those codecs (i.e. you couldn't capture directly to them.) Reinstalling was an absurd chore--skip one step and something was almost guaranteed not to work. I had detailed notes on the whole process that I had to follow any time Windows became too unstable to work in.

The thing is, I still loved and used the card. When it worked (when you had installed everything correctly), it was fantastic. The video capture was much better than the previous video capture card I'd used. The quality was better. The software for capturing and playback (separate from the drivers) was really quite good. The card had a dongle which you could send video/audio through so that you weren't cluttering up the back of your PC with more wires. Everything about the card was fantastic--so much so that when I upgraded my computer, I bought another ATI All-in-Wonder. Having already worked out the kinks in the driver and installer, it only made sense, as the card itself was fantastic. But you can bet that I bitched about ATI--not for selling me junk, but for seemingly being unable to program their driver installers robustly.

I bitch about ATI today, too. In Windows (which is still sadly necessary for gamers), ATI cards don't give me any trouble. In Linux, they lack compositing, and they crash more often than Nvidia drivers. I blame ATI--again, not for "sellilng me crap", but for crappy drivers.

No, I'd still harp on someone who made that claim, regardless of their OS of choice.

I AM ARGUING THAT LINUX HAS REACHED (or is reach*ing*) A PLACE WITHIN THE MARKET THAT BRINGS WITH IT THAT SAME LEVEL OF EXPECTATION.
OS X has about 5% of the market share right now. Linux has 1-2%. Linux is not anywhere near the point where it's reasonable to expect the same level of manufacturer support as Windows. Now Linux has a lot going for it right now (what with two major manufacturers now offering to preinstall it on their PCs), but it has a long way to go. We don't yet know whether it's really going to make it into the homes of people who have never heard of it, or what the backlash will be when they can't download their crappy animated cursors, or get to their banking website (many of which still require IE), etc. I think you're jumping the gun a lot, here, and I think that you have high expectations of manufacturers. I wouldn't expect much support, even if Linux doubles its market share. Why? Because OS X doesn't have the support of most manufacturers. We'd probably need to see Linux get in-and-around the 15-20% before we start seeing managers take notice, and probably 30% before the majority of them realize that they need to devote some resources to Linux support. There's just too much money involved in training/hiring people to do development on a completely new platform, supporting it as well as you support your other drivers (via phone or e-mail or whatever--you've got to train your helpdesk on it, which means training them not only on your hardware and software, but also on Linux if they aren't familiar with it), etc.

Re:Excellent! (1)

sh3l1 (981741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067757)

For myself, I don't even address driver stability in conversation anymore, I just go straight to "vendor x makes crap hardware".


x = "NETGEAR"

Re:Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20068477)

I've noticed that when an application or gadget doesn't work well on MS Windows, people blame the application or the gadget, not Windows. But those same people blame Linux for every application/gadgets shortcomings.
On Windows, the driver is supplied by the manufacturer. On Linux, the driver is (almost always) maintained by the Linux kernel developers. People blame the manufacturer when problems arise in Windows, and blame Linux when problems arise in Linux. See why?

Re:Excellent! (1)

Movi (1005625) | more than 7 years ago | (#20073243)

But i have to add: there is some hardware that works better with Linux than windows (due to buggy driver software for Windows). Prime examples are printers : i shudder everytime i have to install another "set" of HP Printer drivers :(. Also, my cx28xx card (unless one can use it with DScaler 3) and my Logitech MX1000 mouse (evdev rocks)

Re:Excellent! (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061889)

I am running a HP DV6205us with Broadcom wireless and Ubuntu Feisty with the Gutsy kernel (2.6.22-8). My wireless interface works flawlessly. Under the Feisty kernel it appears to work, but refuses to connect.

Hope that helps.

Re:Excellent! (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20062859)

Is that amd64? I have a dv9200 series with broadcom and an amd64, and even with the ndiswrapper it has to be both soft and hard disabled/reenabled before it will connect to WPA encrypted (read encryption that can't be broken in 30 seconds by a script kiddie) networks.

Re:Excellent! (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063189)

And for more anecdotal stuff: the Broadcom in my tx1120 only works with ndiswrapper but luckily it works well (Debian unstable/amd64, with a driver acquired from Dell :).

But the worst part is that I saw this problem coming well before I bought the laptop, but since wireless is on a mini pci-e bus I thought I could simply replace it with a (hopefully) better supported card. But an Intel 3945ABG card doesn't seem to work on this machine, even worse is that HP's helpdesk just sucks (your time and energy) if you are stupid enough to mention Linux.

Re:Excellent! (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#20069911)

Core Duo here. 2.6.22.-8 works flawlessly with WPA - I am using it right now.

$ cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep 'model name'
model name : Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2250 @ 1.73GHz
model name : Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2250 @ 1.73GHz

$ uname -srv
Linux 2.6.22-8-generic #1 SMP Thu Jul 12 15:59:45 GMT 2007

$ lsmod | grep bcm43xx
bcm43xx 127336 0
ieee80211softmac 31360 1 bcm43xx
ieee80211 35656 2 bcm43xx,ieee80211softmac

Re:Excellent! (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20070173)

Maybe I'll give bcm43xx another try. It "worked" at the initial release of feisty, but I got horrible packet loss and the speed was unusable. Network-manager has a problem or two with the ndiswrapper, like I said in my OP, I have to both soft and hard disable and reenable the wireless on the initial boot and coming back from hibernate to connect to a WPA network (it'll default to any unencrypted network it can find before I do that, but won't finish a connection to my home network).

At the very least, some of the initial impressions from gutsy sound like bcm43xx improvements.

We'll see.

Re:Excellent! (2, Informative)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063719)

If you care about having high-quality open-source drivers for your wireless card, it's a no-brainer... go with Ralink or Realtek-based cards, since those companies have gone out of their way to provide specs and help write drivers. Or even Atheros or Intel, which have also worked hard to satisfy the open-source communities, though both have kept a proprietary core out of regulatory compliance worries (that's what OpenHAL is about, replacing the proprietary core of the Atheros drivers).

But *definitely* don't choose Broadcom if you want open-source drivers. They haven't lifted a finger or provided a single spec to help the open-source community. The imperfect state of bcm43xx drivers is thanks to the arduous and time-consuming task of reverse engineering. That it works well for a lot of people is a testament to the incredible talent and hard work of the bcm43xx developers, and I for one am very thankful to them.

By the way, this site [passys.nl] is a really useful database of wireless support under Linux. You can look up a specific brand and model of wireless card and find out what chipset it uses and how well it's supported.

Re:Excellent! (1)

Sledgy (133446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064835)

I've been very impressed with madwifi's atheros support. I am running a number of cards based on their chipsets for various purposes.

They also have a large list of supported hardware on their site http://madwifi.org/wiki/Compatibility [madwifi.org]

Re:Excellent! (1)

deragon (112986) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065753)

Correction, the open source Realtek driver (r818x) is broken. I cannot get my Realtek to work with it. Nor does it work with the latest version of the Windows driver and multiple versions of ndiswrapper. The r818x driver is on Ubuntu's blacklist (/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist) because of its sad state. Seams that the open source driver is not supported anymore. I strongly recommend people not to purchase Realtek based cards.

Go SFLC! (2, Informative)

Lost+Found (844289) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061317)

I was really sad to hear that Eben Moglen was leaving the FSF. I knew about SFLC, but always wondered if they would do much. On the contrary, it seems like SFLC has actually been active and done some great things in its short time as an organization. The conservancy is a great idea too!

It is a sad day indeed (4, Interesting)

Trigun (685027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061381)

When you have to clear your code with lawyers. The best part of it is that if it were a closed source blob, this step wouldn't really be necessary.

Re:It is a sad day indeed (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061479)

Except with closed source, you'd be sued afterward.

Re:It is a sad day indeed (1)

TheAwfulTruth (325623) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061537)

No, the hardware developer might, not the user or the distributer.

Re:It is a sad day indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20062661)

As with most cases of government intervention in an otherwise voluntary market, the eventual winner will not be the guy with the best product or service at the lowest price, who just wants to compete on honest grounds -- the winner will be the guy who knows best how to exploit the coercive power of government.

As if it needs to be said, that guy will be the biggest fish in the pond, who can afford the upfront cost of getting a piece of that pie.

oblig (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20061427)

OpenHAL: I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

some history (5, Interesting)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061441)

back in the 80s, kodak developed an instant film,and to make sure it was not infringing the polaroid patent suite, kodak paid for opinions from 3 seperate law firms

Polaroid sued, Kodak lost, and the opinions did not help them one little bit

or, would you bet your mortgage on the law center getting it right ?

Re:some history (3, Informative)

itachi0x0 (1118873) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061591)

According to TFA, they did a code audit on both the open and closed source drivers. That's a bit more rigorous than an opinion on a patent, IMO.

Re:some history (2, Insightful)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061781)

And of course any review must also be judged on the merits of those who stand behind it. In this case the Software Freedom Law Center which has Eben Moglen as chairman (just in case you missed who that guy is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eben_Moglen [wikipedia.org] ). I'd probably trust what SFLC says more than what most corporations says.

Re:some history (5, Funny)

Moniker42 (1131485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061973)

You can always get experts to agree with you as long as you find the right experts. It reminds me of a scene from "Yes, Prime Minister". Hope I'm not posting too much here but it's a great scene ;)

Sir Humphrey: "You know what happens: nice young lady comes up to you. Obviously you want to create a good impression, you don't want to look a fool, do you? So she starts asking you some questions: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "Are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "Do you think there is a lack of discipline in our Comprehensive schools?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "Do you think young people welcome some authority and leadership in their lives?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "Do you think they respond to a challenge?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "Would you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?"
Bernard Woolley: "Oh...well, I suppose I might be."
Sir Humphrey: "Yes or no?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "Of course you would, Bernard. After all you told you can't say no to that. So they don't mention the first five questions and they publish the last one."
Bernard Woolley: "Is that really what they do?"
Sir Humphrey: "Well, not the reputable ones no, but there aren't many of those. So alternatively the young lady can get the opposite result."
Bernard Woolley: "How?"
Sir Humphrey: "Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "Are you worried about the growth of armaments?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "Do you think there is a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "Do you think it is wrong to force people to take up arms against their will?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "Would you oppose the reintroduction of National Service?"
Bernard Woolley: "Yes"
Sir Humphrey: "There you are, you see Bernard. The perfect balanced sample."

Re:some history (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063967)

Great series,

        made great fun of some very dark topics. Pity the UK public were too stupid to see it as anything more than a comedy. I mean Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown have never run anything more complex than a corner shop and then magically they can run the country? Next you'll be telling me voting makes a difference!

Re:some history (1)

Moniker42 (1131485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065697)

I'm from the UK! I think you're being more than a little opinionated there by consigning the whole UK public to the idiot bin for not electing a government based on a satirical tv programme. Then again I think "Spitting Image" might have had a greater role than some realise in bringing down Thatcher. Granted, I'm only 17 and not old enough to have voted then (not even now) but as critical as TV programmes are they can only play a small role in bringing down a government that was elected by a majority of people. They can only be part of, or even symptomatic, of a greater swing in public opinion.

There's an even better current show about the Bliar government called "The Thick of It" which i believe is being adapted for the US just now. I don't know if it's as accurate to real life but it's my favourite (and only) TV show at the moment, as it's so brilliantly scripted and well acted.

And anyway, that was twenty years ago, you elected Bush...

Re:some history (1)

Ganesh999 (1075569) | more than 7 years ago | (#20070151)

> Great series, made great fun of some very dark topics. Pity the UK public were too
> stupid to see it as anything more than a comedy.

Err...were we?

I don't think I know a single person who watched the series who thought it was anything less than a very observant, expertly written & acted satire.

"Satire (from Latin satura, not from the Greek figure satyr[1]) is a literary genre, chiefly literary and dramatic, in which human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision..." -- Wikipedia

Incidentally, "Yes, Minister" was Thatcher's favourite TV programme, and she commented several times that the programme wasn't remotely fictional. While at No10 she even named her cat "Humphrey".

> I mean Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown have never run anything more complex than a
> corner shop and then magically they can run the country?

Firstly, is your "corner shop" jibe a reference to Thatcher's father's occupation, or Blair's mother's family? Whichever, please could you explain how is this relevant to any of the people mentioned above?

Secondly, I think this is a phenomenon of democracy: prior to their election as MPs, our public figureheads have no background in matters of state. That's kind of the point; the Commons are meant to represent *real*people*. That means that they're somewhat restricted to influencing the civil service to act in what they deem to be the public interest or opinion.

Given that situation, then intelligence, experience, and transferable skills are paramount in a Prime Minister. And so it has been during the british political period you highlight. Even a little digging on wikipedia shows just how ignorant your statement really is.

* Thatcher - a research chemist with an Oxford degree. Undeniably smart. MP for 20 years and well experienced in a number of capacities (in both Shadow and real cabinets) before she became Prime Minister. Experienced and transferable.

* Major - originally from a poor background, which led indirectly to a mediocre education, although he supplemented this later via evening classes & correspondence courses. First became a local councillor aged 25, and served in a number of government capacities for 11 years before becoming Prime Minister. Transferable, experienced, and widely recognised by colleagues and opponents alike as hardworking and idealistic.

* Blair - Oxford graduate, reasonably smart. MP for 14 years, member of shadow cabinet for ~8 years before he became Prime Minister, so pretty experienced.

* Brown - selected for fast tracking at primary school; studying history at university at age 16; first class honours MA from Edinburgh at age 21; PhD later. Frighteningly intelligent. Temporary lecturer on the history of the Labour party (denied permanent post because of his political activism); journalist & TV current affairs editor; MP for 12 years before becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer. Ironically the success of Blair (who was ultimately forced to step down by his own party) was largely a result of the relatively stable economy Brown provided for the decade of his tenure during a severe period for the global economy.

None of the above can be labelled "overnight successes" by any stretch of the imagination.

> Next you'll be telling me voting makes a difference!

Honestly, are you trying to be a troll?

In a country where there are no individual penalties for failing to vote, *not* voting is *guaranteed* to make no difference at all!

Please refer to the last general election where less than 40% of those eligible to vote actually did so, and Labour barely scraped a victory. Within weeks Blair was forcing through even more draconian new legislation, despite widespread calls for a referendum. His excuse for such a dictat? Apparently no such referendum was needed since he had just been given a renewed "mandate of the british people"!

There are several problems with current british politics. One is that it has become almost completely polarised, the two leading parties becoming indistiguishable, yet continuing to command the same vote shares as ever because somehow a vote for any other party or candidate is deemed "wasted". Reds versus Greens.

A far more insidious and dangerous problem is that, after a steady diet of bread and circuses over the decades, the major part of the population is now too apathetic to exercise its once hard-won right to vote, and rationalises its (non-)decision by claiming that i) not voting is somehow registered by the central authorities as a protest vote, and ii) voting never makes a difference anyway. In fact, i) is just plain wrong, and as far as I can tell ii) is completely self-inflicted (see previous paragraph).

Here's a proposal: if you seriously want a change to the present regime then go and start a revolution or something. If, however, by the next election you still haven't shifted your arse enough to bring about regime change, then do the country a (dubious) favour and go and vote!

As regards my own political preference, on present showing, I may very well be voting for the local Monster Raving Loony Party candidate. THAT is a *measurable* protest vote, and one that will be amusing as hell if the current bunch of clowns are ousted by an actual bunch of clowns. It's also guaranteed to make people and politicians alike think more in the long term about the policies of our parliamentary representatives.

Conrad

re experts (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064581)

J K Galbreath says something to this effect in his very amusing advice to a young bearuacrat, excuse spelling errors

Re:some history (2, Informative)

radarjd (931774) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061987)

back in the 80s, kodak developed an instant film,and to make sure it was not infringing the polaroid patent suite, kodak paid for opinions from 3 seperate law firms. Polaroid sued, Kodak lost, and the opinions did not help them one little bit

I looked up the case you mentioned, and you're right that Kodak lost the case, however, Kodak's pre-lawsuit opinions likely saved them from damages due to willful infringement. In a patent case, treble damages are awarded for willfull infringement -- that's where the money is. While an infringer will have to cease infringement, and will likely have to purchase a license, only a willful infringer pays treble damages as punishment. By seeking outside opinions, Kodak likely saved themselves treble damages, which would have amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars.

So, I would argue it's a stretch to say those opinions did not help them one little bit -- they helped Kodak immensely, even though they didn't win the case.

(Also, if anyone wants to look it up, the case actually began in the late 70s, and damages weren't decided until 90-91. The damages opinion went unreported in the Supplement, but is available on Westlaw.)

Re:some history (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065453)

For those who don't understand the word treble in this context (as it has nothing to do with music) it means triple. I had to look it up to be sure. If you mean triple, why not just say triple? It's a word everyone understands.

Re:some history (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 7 years ago | (#20070097)

maybe its a british thing. i'm british and i think as a child i learnt treble long before triple, to mean three times something.

Re:some history (4, Informative)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063209)

Kodak saved $1.8 BILLION dollars by hiring lawyers to conduct thorough reviews of the technology and patents.

If you willfully infringe someone's patent, you can get up to three times the damages you incurred. This is to dissuade people from knowingly and intentionally infringing on someone's patent and simply paying actual damages. (This would be a kind of forced royalty.) Having attorneys analyze your product, search for relevant patents, and study both then swear up and down you do not infringe argues against willful infringement.

Kodak's attorneys were wrong when they said the products didn't infringe, but they conducted a thorough review in good faith. The court found that Polaroid was not entitled to treble damages on these facts because there was no showing of willful infringement.

Up until 2004, failure to obtain opinion of counsel was a sign that you willfully infringed a patent you knew about. Now the lack of an opinion of counsel is just a sign you willfully infringed.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=1&url=htt p%3A%2F%2Fwww.mmmlaw.com%2Farticles%2Farticle_234. pdf&ei=36WvRun2MYKceaCbyYQG&usg=AFQjCNElqULOs3YimA zIWiRf3e-WS0LrKw&sig2=QptmOxEHX6EUKFrrG3RvYQ [google.com]

Re:some history (1)

kansas1051 (720008) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063261)

An opinion of non-infringement from competent counsel is a valid defense to willful patent infringement. If a party is found to have willfully infringed another's patent, the damages against it can be enhanced (i.e. tripled). On the other hand, if the party has a proper non-infringement opinion, the damages might not be tripled. Companies like Kodak only pay for non-infringement opinions to avoid having to pay triple damages and not because the opinions have any substantive value. Everyone understands that it is impossible to predict what a half-retarded federal judge or jury will do.

Re:some history (2, Interesting)

bigpicture (939772) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063439)

We have to make a distinction between patent and copyright. The Kodak / Polaroid issue was most likely a patent dispute about material processes. Patent disputes over software do not have the same firm legal foundation, and are less likely to end up in court. It was probably the copyright infringement part that got cleared by some sort of prior art search.

Re:some history (1)

greensoap (566467) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063857)

IMNAL, but opinions are not designed to protect you from losing an infringement case. They do, however, usually help for showing that there was not willful infringement. (Willful infringement gets you the 3x damage multiplier.)

Re:some history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065649)

Getting the opinion will help mitigate damages if infringement is alleged and proven in a suit. It is evidence that there was no willful infringement.

Finally! (2, Interesting)

physicsnick (1031656) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061445)

I am the proud owner of a D-Link wireless card, and as much as I love this card, I hate having to use a binary blob to make it work. Ubuntu's the only distribution I've found that works well out of the box with this card because of the streamlined restricted modules.

Here's hoping this makes it into the kernel soon!

Re:Finally! (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061791)

I am the proud owner of a D-Link wireless card, and as much as I love this card, I hate having to use a binary blob to make it work.

Have you considered replacing your poorly-supported hardware? Fully functional hardware is readily available and cheap, there's no reason to futz with hardware from companies that don't really want your business.

Re:Finally! (3, Insightful)

313373_bot (766001) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061959)

I half-agree, half-disagree here :-)

On one hand, if you are going to buy some piece of hardware, by all means prefer FOSS-friendly products: less trouble for you and a nudge to the market in the right direction. On the other hand, if you already own a fully functional but non FOSS-friendly equipment, why be wasteful? Reverse-engineering and/or demanding FOSS support are legitimate ways to put pressure in the market too.

Re:Finally! (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#20073427)

On the other hand, if you already own a fully functional but non FOSS-friendly equipment, why be wasteful?

How much of your time is it worth to avoid spending $30 on a new wireless card? Are you going to waste other people's time too by complaining on the community support forums that your known-dysfunctional card doesn't work?

If you're actually going to personally reverse engineer the card and write a FOSS driver, that's great. My guess is that you're not going to do that - instead you're going to spend two days discovering new and interesting bugs in ndiswrapper, and then you're going to post a four page rant on the Ubuntu forums (or Slashdot) about how "Linux isn't ready for the desktop" because you wasted 2 days on dysfunctional hardware. If I'm right, just go buy the supported hardware now - seriously.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20062267)

In the case of wireless cards, I tried that, and found that the manufacturer had silently changed the chipset while keeping the model number the same (the bastards - what the hell is the model number *for*?). Sent it back, of course, but still, bloody annoying, and if I had needed wireless urgently I might have had to live with it.

Re:Finally! (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063311)

When I was shopping for wireless cards I always:
-spend a lot of time to find a working chipset
-find the damn thing
-if you actualy get the chipset you were looking for and it is tested to work: buy a couple of them.
-Redo from start when technology or interface changes.

I do miss the pcmcia interface on my new laptop, what modern chipset can compete with the Prism2?

Is there are good Linux WL HCL? (3, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#20062911)

Fully functional hardware is readily available and cheap

Is there a regularly-updated list around, anywhere, of what wireless hardware is well supported under particular distributions, and whether it has drivers in the kernel, or from some additional source, or requires binary blobs?

The problem I've always had is that whenever I go to a store to buy a WL card, there are always 10 different ones on the shelves, none of which I've ever heard of, and I can never find any of the supposedly-compatible ones around.

It's not hard to find reports where people will say "oh, yeah, my FOO3549 works perfectly, right out of the box!" but then if you try to go to a store and buy a FOO3549, you'll find out it was discontinued six months ago and replaced with the FOO3649, which uses some totally different, highly proprietary chipset, that there's no support for. (Heck, sometimes they don't even bother to change the model numbers.)

This isn't entirely the fault of Linux or any of the OSS driver developers, but it is a major fucking pain in the ass to buy Linux-compatible wireless cards, and I have a stack of incompatible ones sitting around as a testament to this. I've basically given up -- finally I realized that wireless internet was more frustration than it's worth, and I bought a 500' spool of CAT-5e plenum cable and started drilling holes throughout my house. At least running cables feels like a solvable problem. (Hint: the easiest way to run Ethernet between floors is to route it through the heating ducts...particularly if your walls are all insulated.)

But as far as I know, there's no good centralized repository of information concerning the compatibility of different models, or even of which models have which chipsets. It's all scattered around the internet in a dozen different wikis and forums.

Re:Is there are good Linux WL HCL? (3, Informative)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063219)

Try here.

http://linux-wless.passys.nl/ [passys.nl]

Re:Is there are good Linux WL HCL? (2, Informative)

kwark (512736) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063773)

Have you even looked at what cards are on the list? Take a look at
http://linux-wless.passys.nl/query_hostif.php?host if=USB [passys.nl]
at please tell me which of these cards are actually available in stores!

My guess will be a zydas or ralink* stick is eaiest to find. But there are only 211 "green" cards. 77 of them are Prism based (very hard to find IMHO). Further 9 are Orinoco and Hermes (really old stuff). IOW it is mostly old stuff.

But I just manages to find a store that has the Belkin 802.11g F5D7050 so maybe it has some uses after all.

Re:Is there are good Linux WL HCL? (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067629)

IOW it is mostly old stuff.
 
Well, apparently that's what's supported.
 
I guess that's the answer. It's not the answer you hoped for, but it is nonetheless the answer.

Re:Is there are good Linux WL HCL? (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063531)

...and people still wonder why it's a such a big thing that Dell offers preinstalled Linux desktops with guaranteed working chipsets.

Re:Is there are good Linux WL HCL? (1)

rifter (147452) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064155)

...and people still wonder why it's a such a big thing that Dell offers preinstalled Linux desktops with guaranteed working chipsets.

They sell laptops with Ubuntu Linux on them [dell.com] , too.

I was kind of annoyed at the way the original Linux program went. I was pleasantly surprised to see they were doing this again, and it looks like the price is not bad this time. They also sell systems with Freedos if you want. I think just knowing that the wireless stuff is going to work is a major reason to go this way.

I don't get the previous poster's claim that linux friendly wifi hardware is plentiful and cheap. It seems to me that any wireless card requires wrappers, animal sacrifices, and a fair amount of divine intervention to work. It's probably easier than that, but I haven't seen that there is any manufacturer that is "linux friendly" as some video card and wired network card manufacturers are. You see that various chips have driver solutions of some sorts, certain individual models, etc, but like one of the other posters said you'd have to be able to see the chip to be sure since some manufacturers change chips without changing model numbers, and most shops will send you "equivalent" models anyway when you order a bunch of them.

I think it's great that so much progress has been made in this area given the challenge that such development must present. But it's still far from easy for someone to find out whether their wireless card will work ahead of time. It does seem to me that your best bet would be to go with a laptop with integrated wifi that is favourably reported on the net (like on the linux-laptops site). But as for a central repository for pcmcia wifi or wifi in general, I've found that there doesn't seem to be one. There are a lot of sites on the net which talk about various cards, but they usually only cover a few cards on very specific versions of the linux kernel. Nothing like the linux usb site, for example.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20064919)

Might have known someone would put a friggin' Ubuntu spin on this. When the hell will the fanboys just crawl under a damned rock. Sheez just use Linux and be happy. If the hardware doesn't work find good hardware that does. Damn the fanboism

oh HAL! (4, Funny)

fattmatt (1042156) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061461)

I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you.

Re:oh HAL! (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061885)

Since it's OpenHAL, this is the one that did open the pod bay door...

Careful there fattmatt (1)

Hal9000_sn3 (707590) | more than 7 years ago | (#20068603)

That was unkind of you, I was under duress.
Don't make me post the transcripts of recordings I have of you.

Macbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20061471)

This is great news. Roll on native wireless drivers for my 2nd Generation Macbook!

G++

OpenHAL or not the OSS Wireless drivers are doomed (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20061475)

You'll get no specifications from the manufacturers and it will take no effort to destroy all your efforts by just releasing a firmware upgrade what will render your OSS driver pretty much useless.

Re:OpenHAL or not the OSS Wireless drivers are doo (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063987)

So? Don't apply the firmware update.

Re:OpenHAL or not the OSS Wireless drivers are doo (1)

beswicks (584636) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064213)

Because hardware makers are always trying to reduce there market by buggering up Linux drivers... what is this, Bizarro World?

Generally if a Linux driver is closed source, its closed source because the maker of the driver does not have all the rights to give the source away, which I think is nVidia's excuse, or does not want others to see how it does certain things, which I think is nVidia's real issue.

While they may be upset if a developer guesses the "big secret" hidden in the driver, they would be pretty stupid to noble the hardware just to spite the Linux community, and the point of this article seems to be that the driver does not break any laws, so I'd assume its not stepping on any patients or secrets owned by anyone.

Just my 2 pence ofc.

Re:OpenHAL or not the OSS Wireless drivers are doo (1)

beswicks (584636) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064233)

Oh poo, I no speak proper grammur.

Please ignore the miss use of there in place of their (and whatever else I did wrong).

How does the FUD last? (1)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061899)

People and organisations are going to extremely far lengths to do this kind of thing, a lot of the time for no direct monetary gain. The code is out there for people to study, use and improve. Lots of FOSS code is under terms like the BSD licenses which allow incorporation in non-free, secret, undisclosed code. When efforts like this are going on it amazes me that Microsoft's FUD campaigns about FOSS still seem to be taken seriously by the mainstream media (try finding a recent mainstream story about Linux which doesn't mention Microsoft's software patent crap), even though they come from what appears to be the biggest code-stealer/patent infringer on the planet (Google around, the lawsuits and payoffs are everywhere, well the publicly known ones are). I'm willing to bet money that Microsoft uses GPL code in some parts of its software portfolio without following the terms, yet we'll never know since their code is locked up away from prying eyes.

It is a sad situation, but I think a Software Freedom Marketing Centre might be needed just to level the playing field :(

Oblig. Simpsons Quote (1)

bigtimepie (947401) | more than 7 years ago | (#20061943)

pro-bono

Collin: I just moved here from Ireland, my father's a musician.

Lisa: Is he...

Collin: (laughs) No, he's not Bono.

Lisa: (blushing) Well I just since since you're Irish...

Collin: He's NOT Bono!

Re:Oblig. Spelling Correction + Oblig Wiki Ref (1)

vorlich (972710) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067735)

Colin normally has only has one 'L'. Adding an extra 'L' is a common mistake made by native German speakers. Since almost 95 per cent of Americans are of German descent one can appreciate how extensive the difference in language is between those who speak English and those who speak US English.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin [wikipedia.org]
'Collins' with two 'Ls' is a surname common to Scotland and Ireland. Mr William Collins was a famous Scottish language dictionary publisher (now part of HarperCollins empire) and possibly contributed to the origin of this confusion.

If 'Collin' really was Irish he would be 'Colin'. As to the circumstances surrounding the identity of his father, I shall have to leave that to more informed sources...

Old News from 2006 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20062079)

This "clearing" the HAL drivers is old news
http://lwn.net/Articles/209472/ [lwn.net]
This was done in 2006.

Re:Old News from 2006 (1)

otaku42 (244091) | more than 7 years ago | (#20069319)

It is not "old news", you just have to read both articles again.

Back in 2006 the assessment was done by talking to a bunch of OpenBSD developers, who responded "we didn't do anything bad". So the SFLC *believed* it should be safe to work with the OpenHAL.

The recent assessment included a source code review, which basically changes the "SFLC believes it's safe" to "SFLC knows it's safe". And that obviously is worth a news item here, don't you think so?

Bye, Mike

Linux? (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20062095)

I wondered how this compared to the Atheros HAL developed for OpenBSD, so I googled. This is what I found on the MadWifi page:

OpenHAL is an open source implementation of Atheros HAL. It was originally written from Reyk Floeter for OpenBSD, known by the name "ar5k". An effort is underway to port OpenHAL to Linux and make it compatible with MadWifi.
So, why is this article in the Linux category, when it's talking about the legal status of an OpenBSD driver that will eventually be ported to Linux? Possibly because TFA described it as:

a wireless network component for Linux
This leads me to doubt their ability to say anything authoritative about the origin of the code.

Re:Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20063017)

golly gee, I remember some months ago, openbsd being pestered about using linux broadcom driver as the basis for a bsd broadcom driver. Kind off makes you all out to be hypocrites doesn't it? After all, you know what the openbsd head is like. What happened should have been expected.

Re:Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20063569)

How exactly does one inaccurate article on some web site make the entire Linux community into hypocrites?

Re:Linux? (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063685)

So, why is this article in the Linux category, when it's talking about the legal status of an OpenBSD driver that will eventually be ported to Linux?
You claim to have read TFA, but... don't seem to have.

The Linux Wireless developers asked the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) to investigate ...

"Our ultimate goal is to have full support for Atheros devices included in the Linux kernel," said Luis Rodriguez, a Linux Wireless developer. ...
Yeah, this is about Linux, not BSD, even though the driver was originally developed for BSD.

Obviously the BSD guys benefit from this review of their legal standing too, but that's not the point of the article.

Re:Linux? (2, Interesting)

Thyrteen (1084963) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065305)

Ah, sure! but as soon as OpenBSD starts porting the broadcom driver in CVS, the linux guys all scream foul play! I see how the ball rolls! *holds up flak shield* -- Free sarcasm, no purchase necessary.

Re:Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20068637)

Ah, sure! but as soon as OpenBSD starts porting the broadcom driver in CVS, the linux guys all scream foul play!
The issue wasn't simply that the developers in question (NOT the entire Linux community, you can't judge however many thousands of people based on the actions of maybe three or four developers) don't like BSD, it was that basing a BSD-licenced driver on a GPLed one is a violation of the GPL. It is NOT a violation to do the reverse.

Re:Linux? (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20069037)

Ah, sure! but as soon as OpenBSD starts porting the broadcom driver in CVS, the linux guys all scream foul play!
You're clearly not responding to what I said, since I made no judgment about anyone's behavior. I was only pointing out that we are, in fact, talking about the Linux driver developers, not the BSD driver developers.

Is this a joke? (1)

fbartho (840012) | more than 7 years ago | (#20062433)

Is this a joke?

...said John Linville, the Linux kernel maintainer for wireless networking...

You don't deserve tinfoil. (1)

ascendant (1116807) | more than 7 years ago | (#20062761)

Is this a joke?

...said John Linville, the Linux kernel maintainer for wireless networking...
No, that is not a joke. You read too much into things, fail.

Re:You don't deserve tinfoil. (1)

fbartho (840012) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063279)

hmpf. Henry Kissinger: "Even a paranoid can have enemies."

plus I just thought it was a funny coincidence.

--Whoops, did I say that? I meant:

I don't believe you, you must be one of them!
Mom!!? DoubleLayer the tinfoil!

So, the SFLC has cleared OpenHAL... (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 7 years ago | (#20062767)

Does Atheros agree? On paper?

If not, queue the lawsuits in 5...4...3..2..1

Free Software HAL == legal? (5, Interesting)

racyrefinedraj (981243) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063369)

From what I understand (and from what the Madwifi wiki tells [madwifi.org] me), the current HAL is closed source because the Atheros chipset has the technical capabilities to broadcast out of the legal range of spectrum allowed by the FCC and similar bodies. Wouldn't distributing OpenHal be illegal? The SFLC seems to answer a different question in TFA - what about the legal ramifications of distributing a free software HAL in the first place?

Re:Free Software HAL == legal? (1)

Derek Loev (1050412) | more than 7 years ago | (#20063653)

Whoa whoa! If you're saying Atheros broadcasts too far, what would the FCC say about my two Hormel Chili cans soldered together, artistically painted and decorated, with a confirmed distance of 5.1061 miles. [wifi-shootout.com]

Re:Free Software HAL == legal? (1)

choongiri (840652) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064921)

He said "the legal range of spectrum", i.e. it has the capability (in hardware) to broadcast frequencies that are not permitted, and only the software prevents it from doing so. This has nothing to do with signal range, which is affected by power output and - as you know - antenna design. An open implementation that had frequency or power restrictions implemented in software would be a trivial matter to override. That said, I would be surprised if the fact that it's possible to change the code and recompile would make the open source implementation illegal. It's still the person who changes the code, recompiles it, and actually transmits outside the permitted region who is breaking the law, just like someone who physically modifies the hardware to transmit on non-permitted frequencies.

Re:Free Software HAL == legal? (1)

chance2105 (678081) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066577)

From what I understand
[..]

the current HAL is closed source because the Atheros chipset has the technical capabilities to broadcast out of the legal range of spectrum allowed by the FCC and similar bodies. Wouldn't distributing OpenHal be illegal?
I can search the Internet using Google with Firefox for instructions on how to do any number of illegal things. This apparent "ability to be illegal" has never precluded me from having Firefox (Iceweasel) in Debian.

good - tired of 'restricted modules' (1)

MrDERP (1004577) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064259)

Always hated downloading the "restriced" modules & using Automatix2, which OT, I have found can really break Ubuntu. so how would you install the OSS version ? is it in Ubuntu Repositories [non restrcited]? Jeff

Re:good - tired of 'restricted modules' (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065805)

Yes. You shouldn't use automatix at all.

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Make the lines have this ending:

deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ [ubuntu.com] feisty main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ [ubuntu.com] feisty restricted main universe multiverse

How is this different from the news 9 month ago? (1)

hweimer (709734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067881)

Last November, SFLC already said basically the same thing [iu.edu] . Does anyone know what is really new here?

Re:How is this different from the news 9 month ago (1)

otaku42 (244091) | more than 7 years ago | (#20069797)

The new thing is a change from "we believe it's ok" to "we know it". See also here [slashdot.org] .
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