Broadcom wifi drivers in F-14?

David Woodhouse dwmw2 at
Thu Sep 16 11:41:16 UTC 2010

On Wed, 2010-09-15 at 13:20 +0100, Adam Williamson wrote:
> On Wed, 2010-09-15 at 11:05 +0100, David Woodhouse wrote:
> > The Broadcom position seems to be entirely crack-inspired, if it's based
> > on the notion that a binary driver cannot be modified to break the
> > regulations. That assumption is demonstrably false.
> In the lawyers' defense, lots of things happen in courtrooms which apear
> crack-inspired to those of us who aren't part of the legal process (and,
> frequently, also to those who are). I could certainly see a creative
> lawyer trying to argue that a driver under an open source license
> implicitly encourages modification of the relevant code, while a
> driver under a closed source license implicitly discourages it or even
> explicitly prohibits it (I haven't checked, but the closed source
> drivers may be shipped with a license which claims to prohibit
> end-user modification).

But the specific type of modifications we're talking about are *already*
prohibited, by the law of the land. It really doesn't make an iota of
difference whether the licence of the software adds extra provisions.

The argument you're positing is an argument which could be used against
*all* Open Source software -- take fairly much *any* package on a
network-connected system and you *could* modify it to do *something*
illegal. And then you could argue that its licence implicitly encouraged
you to do so... does that mean the original author is responsible?


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