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 From:  Jim Thompson <jim at netgate dot com>
 To:  David W.Hess <dwhess at banishedsouls dot org>
 Cc:  m0n0wall dash dev at lists dot m0n0 dot ch
 Subject:  Re: [m0n0wall-dev] Re: [m0n0wall] The future
 Date:  Fri, 28 Oct 2005 05:10:11 -1000
On Oct 28, 2005, at 4:11 AM, David W.Hess wrote:

> I have to thank all involved in this list for the lively discussion
> about the future of m0n0wall.  I only use it on a small scale for
> home, business, and exploring various aspects of BSD networking so I
> will restrict my comments to areas where I have personal experience.
>
> On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 22:04:46 -1000, you wrote:
>
>
>>> 2) Atheros support.  While the concept of a vendor-supplied HAL  
>>> makes
>>> sense, Atheros really screwed it up by providing it in binary- 
>>> only form
>>> (for a pretty lame reason AIUI).  If they had done it right - i.e.
>>> providing the HAL as CPU- and OS-independent C source, then there  
>>> would
>>> have been no issue.
>>>
>>>
>> I'm certain (as in, I've asked and gotten answers) that they would  
>> have
>> prefered this path as well.  It wasn't an option, due to the very  
>> simple
>> fact that it is *trivial* to tune the Atheros chipset *way* out of  
>> the
>> ISM (and U-NII) bands.   This, in effect means that an "open HAL"  
>> would
>> (not could, *would*) result in substantial interference issues with
>> users of licensed spectrum.   While I could detail the various  
>> license
>> holders who could scream (and sue) over this, I will point out one  
>> very
>> vocal set of "licensed" users who would pull every trick in the  
>> book the
>> second an "open HAL" resulted in detectible interference:   HAM Radio
>> Operators (especially the ARRL).  You see, the (nearly world-wide)  
>> 13cm
>> band runs from 2304MHz to 2450Mhz.
>>
>
> I suspect Amateur Radio operators would view being able to retarget
> inexpensive 802.11 equipment to their bands as an advantage instead of
> a problem because it can be used in upgrading the various Amateur
> digital networks currently in use.

Then you don't understand the politics of the situation.

> I used to be involved in both packet radio and direction finding  
> and we regularly tracked down stuck
> transmitters and other interfering equipment.

I still am.  (KD5FGA)

> The HAMs tend to be an
> independent bunch and are used to doing the legwork in solving these
> types of problems.  WiFi channels 2 through 6 are already in a band
> where Amateur Radio is the primary user and coopting them as well as
> the ARRL could do much to head off any conflicts.

Right... now go look at any action of the ARRL where "their" spectrum  
was "threatened".

> I am not as familiar with the problem of FCC type acceptance for radio
> equipment that can be readily modified except in how it affects use by
> HAMs which has never been an issue in my experience.

Remember that HAMs are *licensed* and part15 users are *not*.

> I do know that manufacturers of 10 meter amplifiers design them to  
> prevent their use
> on 11 meters (CB radio) but even now, changing commercial equipment to
> operate on the Amateur bands is a standard procedure.

Yeah.  So?

> Until I see a primary source for the FCC requiring Atheros to not
> release specifications that could be used to write an open source
> driver because of type acceptance, it is easier to believe that they,
> like many other manufacturers, just use it as one of many excuses not
> to release what they consider proprietary information.

This has *so* been gone over (*so* many times.)

Its in the regs.  Already.

And though it sounds like a f***ed up thing to say, your opinion here  
doesn't matter as much
as the opinion of Atheros' lawyers and those at the FCC (and other  
regulatory agencies).

(sigh).