why free?

Michael Kjorling michael at kjorling.com
Tue Jul 19 08:40:15 UTC 2005

On 2005-07-18 23:32 +0200, dglaude at ael.be wrote:
>  Is this a place where the potential harm of free software is more 
>  dangerous than the good it make.

I agree with Rui, absolutely not. The proper place to do power
limiting in a radio transmitter is in hardware or firmware in a ROM,
not the driver. What if the driver would instruct the transmitter to
put out 100 watts (1,000 times the normal 802.11 power output)? Most
likely that would fry either the driver stage or the power amplifier,
depending on the circuit design. Surely the hardware must have some
sanity checks in place, what is wrong with extending those to set the
limit to the legal maximum? If you need to be able to customize things
without replacing hardware, put those settings in a small EPROM or
EEPROM and have the firmware check what the maximum allowed power
output or channel frequencies is/are.

Security by obscurity doesn't work. If someone wants a higher-powered
802.11 signal, it really doesn't take much to build an external
amplifier. For a weak input signal, there are even commercial ones
that would probably work perfectly fine available off the shelf, if
you know what to look for. So that argument hardly works.

Michael Kjörling, michael at kjorling.com - http://michael.kjorling.com/
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