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Re: Intel says no to permitting firmware redistribution
- To: misc_(_at_)_openbsd_(_dot_)_org
- Subject: Re: Intel says no to permitting firmware redistribution
- From: Dan Harnett <danh_(_at_)_nfol_(_dot_)_com>
- Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 09:10:00 -0500
On Thu, Nov 11, 2004 at 12:53:18PM +0100, Toni Mueller wrote:
> On Mon, 08.11.2004 at 23:37:27 +0100, N.J. Reuvers <n_(_dot_)_j_(_dot_)_reuvers_(_at_)_home_(_dot_)_nl> wrote:
> > can't seem to understand the benefit of holding back potential sale
> > over, what seems to be, a minor contractual matter. How I see it, Intel
> > isn't officialy unwilling to share code. Maybe that leaves some room for
> > discussion.
> the agreements between PC makers and Microsoft, which have been subject
> to antitrust investigations, spring to mind.
> What tiny share of the market can you offer if someone else threatens
> to withdraw rebates tenfold that size?
In most cases, the people who want to use these cards already have these
cards. We just want to use them without agreeing to a contract. For
OpenBSD to put the firmware on a CD, the contract has to go away. If I
use Windows XP, where is the contract? Intel doesn't appear to even
realize what their contract states as they allow Suse, Mandrake, and a
few others to redistribute the firmware.
> Also, esp. in the wireless arena, there are a number of legal
> constraints about how you can operate a card (ie, transmit power,
> frequency etc), and these are, to the best of my knowledge, almost
> completely software controlled. So, in order to stay within legal
> bounds, you must be kept from fiddling with the thing...
> (just another guess).
Intel and it's so called third parties are already not responsible for
what people may tamper with. They're already protected. Try a little
experiment. Tamper with the device then go out and wreak havoc with it.
Who will get arrested? You, or someone at Intel?
Even if you agree to the anonymous contract, nothing is preventing you
from tampering with the device or software. It is as though they
believe someone with malicious intent will somehow be prevented from
misusing it. There is no such contract when you buy the hardware. The
portion that is being claimed to need protection from misuse is the
Also, given the precedence set by the FTC in similar "shrinkwrap" and
"clickwrap" cases, I doubt Intel could even enforce the contract at this
point. Suse and Mandrake clearly violate it and it isn't enforced. The
firmware can also be gained from bypassing the click-through agreement.
I wouldn't doubt that you could find it on any P2P network. Basically,
the damage is already done. There is no extra intellectual property
protection from using the contract. What is the point of preventing
open source operating systems from redistributing the firmware?
They allowed OpenBSD users to buy the hardware. If they want it to be
used properly, you would think they want you to use their firmware so
you have that ability. Apparently not. Their standpoint is a great
incentive to reverse engineer and tamper.
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