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@ Michael: I think you should make clear that this is about USB devices, not the normal PCI(e) wireless products from Atheros. Also these USB devices use the ath9k_htc driver instead of ath9k.
PCI-E devices are essentially lack that dedicated processor. So they don't need any firmware. You see, one of things this CPU does is bridging USB to PCI-E and then usual PCI-E chip does it's job... and now over USB, too . That's how you can create USB chip from PCI-E chip without huge rework of whole design...
*Its never been decided in court, until it is, companies will worry.
So it usually ends up with code being teared apart by hungry business sharks who want to outperform competitors and so unwilling to share even single bit with competitors. Yet they fail to understand that it's what exactly allows GPL perform better. It prohibits this approach, so GPLed project as whole haves increased chance to get boost due to members cooperation. At the end of day cooperation beats all this bunch of hungry sharks. That's how humankind got more developed than other animals, after all. Tough targets are better pursued when people are acting together in orchestrated manner.
...and when it comes to wireless, Linux is light years ahead of any BSDs, proving this idea once more.
Correction, BSD is not even Open source, it's free to close. so it's neither OSS or FOSS. Others say it's more like public domain but I say it's proto-proprietary software and I just can't understand why the FSF and stallman classify it as free software.
The definition of "free software":
* Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program for any purpose.
* Freedom 1: The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
* Freedom 2: The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
* Freedom 3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits.
Free Software and Open Source are about whether you are permitted to continue modifying and distributing source.
Also, it seems you tried to exploit cthulhux's name. Not good for your own reputation; it makes you look like a troll (not that you are one, mind).
I'm afraid so, Ogg Vorbis should have been GPLed to remove the possibly of making proprietary extensions it. And I don't see how making it free to close would gain market share.
I'll point out some flaws with that analogy there.
RMS wanted Ogg Vorbis to be both free and competitive with other proprietary standards, such as MPEG, which is widely in use.
In fact, if you have an MP3 file you're probably using it.
Anyway, it's established as THE standard, and you can put it into any software if you can front the royalty fees.
RMS wanted an alternative that was free for everyone to implement, something that would be able to be put into ANY program or device, not just those licensed under GPLv2+.
Would you rather have an open source standard implemented in some closed source programs, or would you support the patent and price wrought that is MPEG and other proprietary media standards, because they're your only choices if you want to succeed in this marketplace.
This puts a whole new meaning to atheros imo. How many wireless vendors do this? How many wired vendors do this? This is just one step closer to getting a truly open source system.
Intel has closed firmware on its wired NIC's? Wasn't aware of that, unfortunatly, unless someone does have open firmware for their wired NIC's, Intel are still unbeaten in performance, stability and quality on wired NIC's though I think.
Anyway, from the github README:
Ok, what are those NICs?
The AR7010 is a USB/PCIe SoC with onboard RAM, ROM and flash.
It comes with an external wireless chip connected via PCIe - typically
an AR9280 or AR9287.
The AR9271 is a USB/Wifi SoC with onboad RAM, ROM, flash and the
actual wireless chip. The wireless core is an off-shoot of the AR9285.
It is a single-chip solution.
So from the horse's mouth, so to say, they call it a SoC (which I find bit the wrong term, I believe it would be called a micro-controller really). Though the in case of the AR7010, it sounds its nothing more then a USB or PCIe bridge chip to an AR9280 or AR9287.
In the case of the AR9271, it's most likly all those on a single die, so not that special I think. Maybe a stripped AR7010 (who needs internal USB connectivity etc).
That isnt my understanding at all... You can't copyright ideas, you can only copyright implementations. You could write something, then I could write something else that does exactly the same thing in a different way, and they could both be under a different copyright as long as none of your code is used in my implementation.
This is part of the problem: different people have different interpretations and there hasn't been a court case to determine what the correct interpretation is.
Given the uncertainty, and the potential requirement to release their source code if the judgement goes against them (which would open all their internal, proprietary work up to their competitors), I think companies that avoid the GPL are just playing it safe.