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Toward a free Atheros driver

Toward a free Atheros driver

Posted Nov 16, 2006 18:22 UTC (Thu) by thyrsus (subscriber, #21004)
Parent article: Toward a free Atheros driver

I have read that the atheros hardware is capable of violating FCC legal requirements; that revealing how the thing actually works would make someone (manufacturers?) liable for any mischief the device caused; and that this was one of the reasons for the binary obfuscation. Could someone point me toward an authoritative discussion of the matter?

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Toward a free Atheros driver

Posted Nov 17, 2006 22:29 UTC (Fri) by brouhaha (subscriber, #1698) [Link]

If someone modified the code such that the device violated part 15, the party that modified the code in that manner would be the legally responsible party. No one else would be liable unless it could be shown that they "induced" the violation.

IANAL, though, so YMMV.

Toward a free Atheros driver

Posted Nov 19, 2006 20:51 UTC (Sun) by Baylink (guest, #755) [Link]

I'm not a lawyer either... but I was a ham. The issue is Part 15 type acceptance. In the case of a software-controlled radio, the firmware that controls the card would be part of the type-accepted unit -- and whatever part of that might run on the host PC would thereby *also* be part of it.

No, this is not authoritative with citations, either, but hopefully, it at least clarifies what people are asserting is the issue.

Toward a free Atheros driver

Posted Nov 19, 2006 21:40 UTC (Sun) by brouhaha (subscriber, #1698) [Link]

Sure, but if Atheros ships a Windows driver with the card, and the combination has part 15 type acceptance, that doesn't make them liable if someone else writes different software for it.

Atheros' claim that this is why they can't publish the documentation on their chipset doesn't wash either. There's a long history of people modifying radios to operate outside factory spec, either in compliance with the regulations or not. The fact that schematics of radios and documentation on the circuitry was published by the manufacturer of the radio didn't make them liable for the third-party modifications.

Toward a free Atheros driver

Posted Nov 23, 2006 12:41 UTC (Thu) by simonckenyon (guest, #41836) [Link]

The HAL enforces the FCC rules. This was the reason for its creation in the first instance. The author has a good track record when it comes to "free" software, so would not have done it this way unless there was no alternative.

Toward a free Atheros driver

Posted Jul 21, 2007 5:28 UTC (Sat) by rasp (guest, #46357) [Link]

But that is like shooting the messenger alas there's no way of preventing
people stabbing each other with the likes of kitchen knives.
For instance (at least in germany) it is legal to _buy_ HAM Radio equipment, but it is illegal to _operate_ it without a license....
(Just my 2 Pfennig :-) )

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