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Re: Fedora Core 2 wishlists



On Wed, Dec 10, 2003 at 12:06:51AM -0500, Bill Nottingham wrote:
> > - WaveLAN drivers: madwifi and prism54
> >   http://sourceforge.net/projects/madwifi/
> 
> That driver includes binary-only components.

Well, have fun trying to convince the FCC... as far as I understand
the madwifi folks in their tarball README, all other drivers might
be in FCC rules violation:

<cite>
The ath_hal module contains the Atheros Hardware Access Layer (HAL).
This code manages much of the chip-specific operation of the driver.
The HAL is provided in a binary-only form in order to comply with FCC
regulations.  In particular, a radio transmitter can only be operated at
power levels and on frequency channels for which it is approved.  The
FCC
requires that a software-defined radio cannot be configured by a user
to operate outside the approved power levels and frequency channels.
This makes it difficult to open-source code that enforces limits on
the power levels, frequency channels and other parameters of the radio
transmitter.  See

http://ftp.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Orders/2001/fcc01264.pdf
                                                                                
for the specific FCC regulation.  Because the module is provided in a
binary-only form it is marked "Proprietary"; this means when you load
it you will see messages that your system is now "tainted".
</cite>

So, unless FCC changes rules or the Atheros people decide to
deliberately violate those, we might never see support for those cards
(and probably all others if they are also found to be relevant)
will never exist without always patching vendor kernels.

Rejecting binary drivers because vendors want to keep secrets is
one holy war I can understand and support. But trying to change
(understandable) FCC rules (and actually I guess german regulatory
rules are quite similar in this regard) is probably a lost battle
before starting. FCC doesn't care at all about inconvenience of Linux
users with WLAN cards.

> >   http://www.prism54.org/
> >   Most cards nowadays use the Atheros (madwifi) or Prism chipsets,
> >   otherwise you're really dead in the water for waveLAN under Linux
> 
> Get the driver upstream! :)

I'm not the driver author, so not in any position to run uphill for
this. :-)

> Seriously, we're already looking at Cyrus, so I doubt that we'd ship
> courier as well in Core.

Why Cyrus?

It has:
- a proprietary storage format (Courier uses Maildir)
- it has no IPv6 support (only in beta releases, Courier since years)

I don't think that "we're looking at Cyrus, so we don't look at others
anymore" is a rational approach, esp. since Courier looks superior
to me for all average users (perhaps not for the 1-million-mailboxes
shops, but those install and hack up Cyrus themselves). :-)

Please reconsider. :-)


Best regards,
Daniel




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