[Battlemesh] FCC fw lockdown vs. GPLv3?

Linus L├╝ssing linus.luessing at c0d3.blue
Sat Sep 26 09:05:06 CEST 2015

Ok, the total lockdown of a TP-Link TL-WR841N(D), the most popular
device in Freifunk wireless community networks (and maybe other
communities too?) makes me wonder a lot. A device still running
a GPLv2 licensed Linux kernel.

For community mesh networks we need affordable devices. Community
networks aren't big enough yet to produce their own devices in a
similar quality and price range.

If affordable devices for wifi communities were going to die now
thanks to total firmware lockdowns, why would I want to continue
contributing patches to the Linux kernel (specifically
batman-adv and the Linux bridge)?

I'd have the option to give up or to put my patches under a GPLv3
license from now on. If enough(*) other Linux developers were
were switching to GPLv3 then it might become less costly for
most manufacturers to only have the wifi firmware signed/locked
than having to maintain a whole, huge operating system all on
their own.

Am I missing something or could that new FCC regulation be a
good reason to reopen the "GPLv3 for Linux" discussions?

Cheers, Linus

(*): "Enough" are probably quite a lot... as most parts of the
Linux kernel are GPLv2 and not GPLv2+ or BSD/MIT licensed,
so many people would need to add a GPLv3 license to their
previous code, I guess? *mumble*, *mumble*...

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