Community update: GSM firmware and GPS driver

Shachar Shemesh shachar at
Wed Nov 14 10:18:20 CET 2007

Ian Darwin wrote:
> Anything less will lead to this sort of frustration, over and over again.
It is not always possible.

The way I figured it out, the GSM module will always be closed. This is
not due to the hardware specs being unknown, but due to the fact that
the law requires a transmitter to be approved by the FCC, and it is
impossible to get an approval for a transmitter that allows anyone to
change the frequencies it transmits in. I understand what the FCC is
worried about (though I do not, necessarily agree with it. Anyone can
build an unauthorized transmitter, and writing code that says "you have
copyright permission to modify this code, but you will have to get it
certified with FCC yourself before you are allowed to use it" does not,
in my eyes, reduce your freedom).

In other words, you will NEVER get a truly 100% open source cell phone
as long as the FCC rules are as they are.

Regarding the GPS, please pay attention to the fact that the GTA-02 did
not "solve" this problem. It merely moved the non open source component
from the software to the firmware. This solves the "supporting
libraries" problem, but does not allow openness. Here, at least, I
suspect that the reasons have less to do with an external certification
authority, and thus have more hopes for the future.


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