Really free Atheros driver for Linux
Posted Nov 15, 2006 19:30 UTC (Wed) by N0NB
In reply to: Really free Atheros driver for Linux
Parent article: SFLC: OpenBSD Atheros driver is clean
Certainly, I am not authoritative, but there may be some fallout from the
US FCC and other regulatory administrations. Typically, one of the tests
that the FCC requires of manufacturers is that enduser access to certain
operating parameters is not easily accessable. These parameters generally
amount to the unit in question remaining within a certain frequency range,
power output, and modulation parameters. Any end user who modifies an
accepted device to operate outside the approved parameters can be held
liable by the FCC for causing any harmful interference to other users.
What regulatory action that could be taken against the authors of a free
driver that allows adjustment of the radio outside of its approved
parameters is an interesting question. I'm guessing that to the FCC it
would be no different than the CB shop that modifies radios for operation
beyond the approved 40 channels and their power and modulation limits.
Or, the importers that sell "CB" radios at truckstops that can be
trivially "modified" to illegal operation.
Unlike the Amateur Radio Service where licensees are allowed and
encouraged to modify their equipment for operation on the amateur radio
bands, every other radio service is disallowed from similar modifications.
The FCC has held both providers and end users liable for violation of its
rules. I'd advise the OpenBSD Atheros authors to tread carefully.
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