Subject: Re: Intel policy wrt OSS [was: Re: src]
To: Theo de Raadt <>
From: Jonathan Gray <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 09/30/2006 20:28:36
On Sat, Sep 30, 2006 at 03:03:57AM -0600, Theo de Raadt wrote:
> Regarding Intel wireless chips and distribution rights...
> > From: "Damien Bergamini" <>
> > [...]
> > 
> > Intel's policy with respect to open-source software[1] which
> > has been presented at OSDL (I wasn't there unfortunately) is
> > clear and can be summarized as follow:
> > 
> > - make us look like we're open-source friendly by opening
> >   a project on sourceforge.
> > - give the open-source community the bare minimum so that
> >   they can serve as our beta-testers.
> > 
> > Even, they're far less opened that what they pretend to be
> > in their slides:
> > 
> >   "If you need to keep IP closed source (for example some
> >  whiz-bang algorithm), document the hardware sufficiently
> >  that the community can provide their own."
> > 
> > So Intel please tell me where I can find the documentation
> > of your Intel PRO/Wireless products so that I can improve
> > the drivers myself?
> > 
> > Damien
> > 
> > [1] "Balancing Open Source and Corporate Objectives"
> > James Ketrenos, Intel SGG Core Software Division,
> > ipw2100/2200/3945 project manager, July 25, 2006
> >
> >
> > And yes, it was in the "Open Drivers" summit!
> > 
> > 
> > | CVSROOT: /cvs
> > | Module name: src
> > | Changes by: 2006/09/29 21:02:45
> > | 
> > | Modified files:
> > | share/man/man4 : wpi.4 iwi.4 ipw.4 
> > | 
> > | Log message:
> > | We have again tried to talk to Intel about being able
> > | to redistribute firmware and they are being totally
> > | unhelpful.
> > | 
> > | If you'd like to tell Intel how screwed up this
> > | situation is, you should mail
> In the past, our users have shown that they can help us convince
> vendors to do the right thing.  They have shown vendors the path
> towards freeing up many pieces of documentation or granting firmware
> distribution rights.  This has helped with many vendors, most of them
> quite large.
> Before we ask a vendor, we have already lost (ie. the device does not
> work).  When a vendor says no, we have lost nothing further -- there
> is no way we can lose further than having the device not work.  We can
> only win, and then the device works.  So there is no point in giving
> up until we win back the rights to write software for the hardware
> that we have purchased.
> These vendors often want a quiet private discussion, because in a
> quiet private discussion they can continue to dismiss the requests and
> in the end do absolutely nothing.  They do not want a noisy public
> discussion, because then they look bad.  But they DESERVE TO LOOK BAD,
> because they are being bad to those who bought their hardware!
> In this particular case, we would like more documentation for the
> Intel wireless chips.  Damien has already written drivers that make
> the devices work quite well... but there are still bugs, since all of
> this is based on reverse engineering efforts.  The drivers could be
> better.  Intel stands in the way of your devices working as well as
> they should.
> Wireless devices from most other vendors now work significantly better
> in the *BSD projects than the Intel drivers.  That is because almost
> all the other vendors have been far more open than Intel, and because
> Damien (and friends) have worked very hard to do their best.  Quite
> frankly, Intel has been a royal pain in the ass.  Not to us, but to
> people who bought their devices.
> We would also like Intel to GRANT us distribution rights for the
> binary firmwares of their 3 wireless chipsets.  Quite frankly we don't
> care what their reasons are, because their reasons must be lies
> according to the slides Intel presented at a conference.
> Intel also must grant these rights freely (we will not sign away our
> users rights, and we will not sign away our own rights -- that is what
> some of the Linux vendors do when they ship Intel firmwares).  Intel
> must do this firmware grant in the same way that Adaptec, Atmel,
> Broadcom, Cirrus Logic, Cyclades, QLogic, Ralink, and LSI and lots of
> other companies have granted distribution firmware to be used by
> others.  We do not believe that Intel is not special enough that they
> can take people's money and their rights.
> (By the way, Intel already provides some other firmwares for other
> chips, with the correct distribution terms... those firmwares being
> CRITICAL BUG FIXES for very broken 100mbit ethernet chips that they
> shipped in the millions.  That is why we know that Intel's legal
> department already knows how to release firmware images with a BSD
> license, thus permitting distribution).
> Until Intel releases these things, even their conference presentations
> make them total liars -- and that specifically means James Ketrenos.
> He has no right to tell such lies at an Open Source conference.
> People who release full code are open source -- Intel is not, and
> since James does not release *all the pieces that people need* into
> the Open Source Community, James is not Open Source, and therefore
> James is a big fat liar.  James and Intel only release the partial
> fragments that they feel will make them look "Open".
> (To quote a friend,
> 	Some asshole said he was "open",
> 	but he was only open for business.
> By withholding, Intel is being an Open Source fraud.
> Majid Awad at Intel has stated to developers that he is the current
> person who is responsible for this particular area.  So go ahead, let
> him know how you feel about this.
> Again, his email address is
> So let's win back the rights to run the hardware we purchased.
> Please feel free to let other open source communities know about this
> matter.  Thank you.

We have been trying to make this happen for YEARS, and the situation
is rapidly getting worse not better.

These issues affects ALL open operating systems, tell Intel you want
them to  change their policies, tell them you aren't happy.  It's your
money why should they get to screw you around by not supporting their