[openmoko-announce] Crossroads

Harald Welte laforge at openmoko.org
Wed Mar 14 17:04:18 CET 2007

On Wed, Mar 14, 2007 at 08:01:08AM -0700, Martin Lefkowitz wrote:

> In my opinion, unless there is another company that can meet his
> requirements, the only real answer is to have an SDIO interface and let
> the end user/developer decide how to load a binary into the kernel from
> the chipset vendor.  

No way.  We will never encourage our users to use legally questionable
code.  As soon as you opt for proprietary bits in the kernel, you enter
a _meassy_ and nasty legal grey area.

Please don't start a GPL / Licensing / binary-only lkm debate here.
This has been discussed over and over at other times.

I doubt you will find any reasonably technically and legally skilled
person who would ever claim tha having proprietary kernel modules is a
well-defined legal area.

This kind of decision is what differentiates us from [almost] all the
other vendors out there.

If we cannot find a 100% GPL compatible WiFi solution, we will not have
WiFi at all in our devices.  This is sad, but we're not compromising on

Now if some of you ask yourself: But you're having binary-only GPS code!
My answer is:

1) it's in userspace, and thus not a legal issue at all.  Nobody argues
   that running Oracle on top of a Linux kernel is a GPL violation.  No
   grey arae. Clear-cut and 100% legal.
2) it's not required to make the phone wokr.  GPS is definitely a add-on
   feature, a gimmick.  Not as important as communication channels like
   GSM, Bluetooth, WiFi.

- Harald Welte <laforge at openmoko.org>          	        http://openmoko.org/
Software for the world's first truly open Free Software mobile phone

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