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Re: ACX100 Firmware Licensing



> We'd like to support the Texas Instruments ACX100 802.11b wireless
> chipset (DLink DWL-520+, DWL-650+, and others), but we can't include a
> working driver without the firmware binary blob, which is available but
> has a restrictive license.  We have tried to contact TI, through all the
> channels available to us.  They have not even replied to our mail.
> 
> We are simply trying to have a frank discussion with the right people,
> and noone inside TI thus far is helping us find the right people.
> Perhaps you -- as consumers -- can convince them to talk to us?
> 
> Any other contacts you might have at TI would also be helpful.
> 
> Bill Carney <bcarney_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com> +1 707 521 3069
> Mr Taketo Fukui <fukui_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com> 81-3-4331-2060
> Dr John T Coffey <coffey_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com> +1 707 284 2224
> Mr Srikanth Gummadi <sgummadi_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com> +1 707 284 2209
> Dr Srinath Hosur <hosur_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com> (214) 480-4432
> Dr Jie Liang <jliang_(_at_)_iee_(_dot_)_org> (214) 480-4105
> Mr Joe Mueller <mueller_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com> 858 646 3358
> Mr Lior Ophir <lior_(_dot_)_ophir_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com> (972) 9 970-6542
> Dr Stephen Pope <spp_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com> (510) 841-8315 
> Mr Yoram Solomon <yoram_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com> (408) 965-2196
> Tim Riker <tim_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> DuVal, Mary" <m-duval_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Anand Dabak <dabak_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> "Anand G. Dabak" <dabak_(_at_)_hc_(_dot_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Tim Schmidl <schmidl_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Sean Coffey <coffey_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Srikanth Gummadi <sgummadi_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Srinath Hosur <hosur_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Muhammad Ikram <mzi_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Joseph Mueller <mueller_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Lior Ophir <lior_(_dot_)_ophir_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Stephen Pope <spp_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Ian Sherlock <isherlock_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Manoneet Singh <msingh_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Richar Williams <richard_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>
> Hirohisa Yamaguchi <h-yamaguchi4_(_at_)_ti_(_dot_)_com>

For those of you new to this type of (shall we call it) activism,
let me tell you something.

I think 6 years ago we asked our user community to contact Adaptec in
the same way.  We had been requesting documentation for their scsi
chips, and Adaptec had been giving us the round-about for over a year.
It was going nowhere.  We asked our users to email the 30-some email
addresses which we had attempted dialogue with over the year.  Five
hours later I had a phone call from Adaptec asking me to stop our
users from mailing them.  I said it was `beyond my control'.  They
said that a few of the people were HR staff.  I said it was `beyond my
control'.  Next day, Adaptec asked for two of our addresses.  They
express shipped boxes containing a full compliment of cards, as well
as documentation for all their chips.  As a result today you will find
that Adaptec scsi support in OpenBSD is solid.

(Similar approaches with other vendors have had impact as well;
OpenBSD -- and other systems -- are better as a result).  The QLogic
story is similar.

In this case, we are not asking TI for documentation for their boards.
A driver already exists.  I believe it was reverse engineered by some
Linux people, and BSD work is in progress.  We just want to discuss
with TI what licensing changes might be possible so that the firmware
for their cards can be included in Open Source operating system
releases.  Having to install a firmware file only found on a CDROM
sold with the card after install is crazy.

These companies are huge and they shelter their internal decision
makers; even after weeks orr months of effort it is still impossible
for us to talk to the right people, and even then, they try to ignore
us because they do not think our concerns are important enough.

As consumers, you can change that.  It worked before.  Worth trying,
no?

Just tell the right TI people to come talking to me.

Thanks.