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GNU is Not Unix Wireless Networking Hardware

Harald Welte Calls Out Netgear's Open Source Sham 199

Simon80 writes "Harald Welte, known for his involvement in various open source communities, has pointed out the shortcomings of Netgear's open source router hype. Netgear's own astroturfed community site reveals that the router requires the use of binary-only kernel modules for the wireless and ethernet hardware, which is supplied by Broadcom. Also worth noting are the missing features in third-party firmware versions supplied by Netgear."
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Harald Welte Calls Out Netgear's Open Source Sham

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08, 2009 @03:51PM (#29684919)

    If you're in the US, go to the japanese website, download the HK blob.

    Hey presto, your FCC compliany and completely binary-blobbed obfuscated wireless card now breaks the FCC regulations.

    And this isn't some third party (Linux developers) doing this: it's the very manufacturers themselves.

    Yet for some reason, despite this overt and explicit method of breaking FCC regulations by what the owner of said kit does by the aid and abetment of Broadcom, Broadcom remains free from jail.

    Now please explain why this doesn't make your argument a mockery.

  • Great idea! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by glassware ( 195317 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:21PM (#29685309) Homepage Journal

    Surely it's a good idea to harangue a company for not being "sufficiently" open source. What a great way to gently remind them to have a positive attitude towards open source!

    A professional might "appease" them by congratulating them on a first step and encouraging them to open up further. Hah! We ideologues know that only 100% compliance to our definition of open source can ever be correct. Anything else should be ridiculed openly.

    After all, we would prefer a company be completely 100% closed source rather than have some features be open. Death to all infidels!

  • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:21PM (#29685311)
    The funny part is that they tried astroturfing about open software, and have provided a very poor product to exactly the people that would notice. The general public wouldn't care about the quality of a router (and usually not even the features). The general public really doesn't care if a router is open (although the attitude is changing a bit). They targeted these deceptions toward exactly the audience that would find out about them. This sounds like some very poorly informed marketing people thought they could get away with it.
  • by ( 245670 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:09PM (#29686013)

    My WRT54GS has been stable for fucking years, absolutely years, rock solid for yonks, working its buns off moving packets. A couple months ago, I decided I was going to look for a new router that could do everything my old 54 can do plus wireless-n at 5.8ghz (maintaining g at 2.4ghz) and gigabit ethernet. I had to look at the $250+ range and I'm not even sure if those units would do it because I didn't bother scrutinizing the specs at that price. It may have been necessary to move into commercial grade equipment to get everything I wanted. Screw that. I can just hang a 5.8ghz 'n' WAP off a gigabit switch and plug that into my old 54 for a lot less money and not have to worry about unknown bugs, stability, etc.

    In fact, I'm about to pick up a 54GL for my grandfather. I made the mistake of thinking a $20 TrendNet would be fine for him since he doesn't need traffic shaping or anything beyond a basic wireless router. Wrong. Damn thing quits every 5 or 6 days like clockwork. He has to unplug/replug it to get it going again. A 54 is worth the extra money because it just frickin' works. Linksys really hit the nail on the head with that line. As long as consumer broadband is in the 10-20mbit range, I'm not going to waste my time trying other routers.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault