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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

szatox,

Lets just consider two transmitter parameters for a worked example. Frequency and power.

A reversed bias diode has a capacitance that depends on the reverse voltage, it reduces with increasing reverse bias.
Normally, this is a parasitic effect but the capacitance range can be optimised if its actually a desired parameter.
Its trivially easy to control the reverse voltage with a D/A converter.
Very fast frequency changes can be achieved to produce frequency hopping, which is a form of spread spectrum transmission.

WiFi uses a form of spread spectrum but I'm not sure which one.

Using a similar technique, the voltage applied to the RF output stage can be varied. Hopefully, using PWM, so efficiency is maintained.
iwconfig even provides a command to set the output power but not all chip sets provide user control.

For a simplistic implementation, we now have two memory mapped addresses that control output power and transmitter frequency.

A long time ago, I had a WiFi PCMCIA and ISA card, when WiFi was new. 11Mbit sec. (Well before b) There was really only a windows driver.
A half finished linux driver existed (not in the kernel), while it would operate, the spread spectrum had to be done in software and this was totally missing from the linux driver.
Hence it would be illegal to use and could not communicate with its Windows counterpart.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Software defined radio is not a problem as long as it's the receiver, as long as any needed LO is shielded from producing noise.
There are tons of SDRs implemented already, and there's even a AM/FM SDR that's disguised as a regular receiver. The LO is not much different than any other receiver and does the final discrimination via software. Not a problem.

The transmitter is the problem. In fact some of the cell phones and wifi out there are "sort" of SDR because they do give enough flexibility into what gets transmitted and these must be FCC regulated too. You can bet that the firmware for any transmitting SDRs must be locked down even more so than just regional regulatory control.

Main issue with SDR is that the CPU bandwidth needed to do the mixing requires it to be very fast and I don't see true broad spectrum SDR transmitters happening except at low frequencies for a while. Narrow spectrum SDR might be more feasible using analog as the final "mixer" but FCC would be OK with narrow band anyway as long as it can be proven it cannot be sent outside the intended band.

BTW: A sound card "is" a SD"R" transmitter, except it can only do it in the sound frequencies (0-44.1KSPS) - too low level (power) and frequency to be of use in radio waves - and hence passes FCC rules (interfering with 60KHz WWVB comes to mind). If one could make a DAC so fast and can be driven fast in the hundreds of MHz region after doing the mixing - that would be a true SDR transmitter - then these things would need to be regulated.

And no, technology does not exist to "PWM" transmit at carrier frequency. PWM frequency would need to be even higher than carrier and big transistors (watt-range) don't switch fast enough yet - too much capacitance. Plus filtering is still needed and any prefilter noise could become noise transmitted along with the signal...
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neddy, thanks for clarification. Nothing new by itself, but it did help define context, so some things started making sense.
I guess I have an unrealistic idea of the term "software defined". It wouldn't be the first time I seem to expect too much. (Like expecting "enterprise" quality stuff to actually work. Just a side note)
Oh, wait, using CPU to spread spectrum is new to me. I was like "WTF?!" when I read it. Here we go with unrealistic expectations again...
Quote:
WiFi uses a form of spread spectrum but I'm not sure which one.
AFAIR phase shifting... Which is exactly why I asked for any papers regarding the magic happening in the receivers. Feels like a perfect way to render the good, old-fashioned resonance completely useless, and without resonance you have more noise than signal, and somehow this works anyway. It's obvious I'm missing some important piece from this image.
Quote:
And no, technology does not exist to "PWM" transmit at carrier frequency. PWM frequency would need to be even higher than carrier(...).
My thoughts exactly. Ain't gonna happen. That noise from PWM would make any transmitter unstable, in a way that "mangles" spectrum rather than "spreads" it in a recoverable fashion.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r,

Quote:
And no, technology does not exist to "PWM" transmit at carrier frequency. PWM frequency would need to be even higher than carrier and big transistors (watt-range) don't switch fast enough yet - too much capacitance. Plus filtering is still needed and any prefilter noise could become noise transmitted along with the signal...


That's not what I was suggesting. Transmit power is proportional to the operating voltage of the transmitter.
Tx power can be controlled by controlling the operating voltage. Possibly with a PWM based regulator, operating at a much lower frequency than the Tx carrier. .
I was not intending to suggest that the carrier was PWM controlled directly.

DACs to do >100 MHz were around 20 years ago, they were usually used in 3s for video but with digital displays, they have gone out of fashion.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generating the voltage was never the issue and always been switching power supplies to power the final stage transmitting transistors as there's really no other way to generate the potential needed - though likely an in-chip charge pump generates it because nature abhors an inductor. That is not a new idea and efficiencies have always needed to be high for mobile devices.

However the actual transmitting of the signal is power costly because it has to be done analog and if it could be done digitally, it could save power hence the efficiency comment seemed a bit confusing.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The continued conversation on this thread went a bit over my head, but I'm definitely getting the phone because I just found out that they've exceeded their campaign goal, so the phone is going to be a reality, so I reckon I'll be learning quite a bit about mobile technology when the product comes out. I'm not going to lie, even with all the warnings herein, I'm super excited. I finally will have a phone that I want to develop on. My aversion to Android and iPhone have kept me out of the mobile domain. If I understand NeddySeagoon's earlier post, I'll be able to run my phone with a Gentoo OS (which is what I want). I find that I develop a better understanding about my hardware components and how they relate to system level applications when I use a Gentoo OS. I hope it'lll be the same with mobile phones.

I'm curious about what the touch screen is going to be like. There are two things that I think Linux doesn't do well--office suite software and touch screen technology. I have a hybrid laptop that runs Gentoo/Windows 8 dual boot, and I find that touch screen technology is pretty bad on Linux (it's pretty bad on Windows, but still better than Linux). Android has exceptional touch screen tech--so I reckon it's possible to have a great touch screen interface with an OSS phone.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I guess we'll see if they come up with real hardware.

Some of those promises seem a bit difficult to do like "CPU and baseband separate" is going to be quite a doozey (it's like "cost" "low power" "oss-compliant" PICK TWO).
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

monkeygirl,

Start learning about JTAG now. You can even practice on low cost hardware.

One of the first things you will do with programming that phone is 'brick' it.
When (not if) that happens, you can send it away to be fixed or unbrick it yourself, which is one of the many things JTAG can do.

Provided you leave the phones own software in charge of the phone and install Gentoo in a prefix or a chroot, bricking the phone is unlikely.+
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It funded, and I waffled on buying a dev kit for too long.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
Some of those promises seem a bit difficult to do like "CPU and baseband separate" is going to be quite a doozey (it's like "cost" "low power" "oss-compliant" PICK TWO).
Might be achievable economically with TrustZone without an actual separate CPU. Logically separate with hardware-enforced boundaries.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

berferd wrote:
It funded, and I waffled on buying a dev kit for too long.
It's still available for pre-order.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John R. Graham wrote:
eccerr0r wrote:
Some of those promises seem a bit difficult to do like "CPU and baseband separate" is going to be quite a doozey (it's like "cost" "low power" "oss-compliant" PICK TWO).
Might be achievable economically with TrustZone without an actual separate CPU. Logically separate with hardware-enforced boundaries.
It is entirely possible to market and sell an unassembled or not-for-mass-market device that implements its own baseband. If a device is using TrustZone to enforce a boundary then in my opinion it is not open source.

There is no reason to blindly accept the laws as they are written; evaluate each with your own reason and common sense, and where change is desirable, request it.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
A long time ago, I had a WiFi PCMCIA and ISA card, when WiFi was new. 11Mbit sec. (Well before b) There was really only a windows driver.
A half finished linux driver existed (not in the kernel), while it would operate, the spread spectrum had to be done in software and this was totally missing from the linux driver.
Hence it would be illegal to use and could not communicate with its Windows counterpart.
Please cite the law that makes operating your device within the parameters given by law illegal without certified software. To my knowledge, there is no such law, and companies routinely change firmware after certifying a device.

The situation you propose is untenable because anything I do on my machine that coincidentally interferes with the driver's operation then becomes the device manufacturer's fault.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The FCC regulations is just to prevent sale of such items that go out of their designated bands. To prevent rogue devices to be sold, they want the manufacturers to ensure it's not "easy" to make it go off tune, thus the manufacturer only needs to make it hard for someone to reverse engineer.

The other issue is that 802.11b/g/n when use in the 2.4GHz band, that band is free for all. The FCC just wants to make sure you can't go to 2.3GHz or 2.5GHz (or whatever that extent is, just 11 channels in the US), or go over power. What the device does with that band is up to the manufacturer. In fact these 2.4GHz products merely need to meet the same regulations as a 2.4GHz analog phone, 2.4GHz wireless camera, bluetooth, or even a microwave oven. So if someone hacks the firmware to make it incompatible with other 802.11 devices, that's fine, unless it goes out of the 2.4GHz band or exceed watts transmitted. It's fine for it to even interfere with other devices in close proximity - as long as watts transmitted is low (and therefore if you're a mile away, it will no longer interfere) - and that's why analog 2.4GHz phones are not illegal despite it interfering with wifi.

What manufacturers can do with the bandwidth allotment is almost limitless, as long as long as the carrier mixed with the data does not go out of the allotted band or exceed power limits. However 802.11b/g/n/... standards were made specifically so that as many people as possible can share that limited bandwidth - even when sharing a channel. It's in their best interest to share because they are all restricted from increasing watts to override another transmitter.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

R0b0t1 wrote:
It is entirely possible to market and sell an unassembled or not-for-mass-market device that implements its own baseband. If a device is using TrustZone to enforce a boundary then in my opinion it is not open source.
And if the baseband is implemented on a separate processor, that doesn't make it open source either. Separate physical core vs. separate logical core is not a distinction that excites me.

The separate core might be for another reason: Linux isn't an RTOS. Maybe the baseband control firmware needs real-time latency guarantees. It's also worth noting that some TrustZone hypervisors do have real-time features.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
The FCC regulations is just to prevent sale of such items that go out of their designated bands. To prevent rogue devices to be sold, they want the manufacturers to ensure it's not "easy" to make it go off tune, thus the manufacturer only needs to make it hard for someone to reverse engineer.
This isn't actually written into law at all. Putting the burden of making modifications difficult on the manufacturer implies they would be liable for things that end users do with their product, which does not make any sense.

I have kept asking you to cite the things you say, and I feel I should ask again.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John R. Graham wrote:
R0b0t1 wrote:
It is entirely possible to market and sell an unassembled or not-for-mass-market device that implements its own baseband. If a device is using TrustZone to enforce a boundary then in my opinion it is not open source.
And if the baseband is implemented on a separate processor, that doesn't make it open source either. Separate physical core vs. separate logical core is not a distinction that excites me.
I would be excited about it, as it is the most open solution that is available on the market today. It fits the criteria of open source as an unmodifiable black box with a (mostly) nonprogrammable interface.

The separate core is almost always for the reason you gave, or in the case of combined models, the reason the baseband is run in a more privileged mode than the OS. Then there are the cryptography concerns, which personally do not seem very valid as the standards used are provably weak. It is possible to have PKI on user controlled hardware.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

R0b0t1 wrote:
I have kept asking you to cite the things you say, and I feel I should ask again.

It's not necessary, if you actually think about what the rules are trying to protect. The rules are not there to piss off end users to prevent OSS from being used. It's not there to collect money from people making devices, though it may seem that way. The FCC are simply making sure that people are fairly using the airwaves as it is a limited resource. I'm not sure if you realize this basic fact, though it seems like it's unlimited. Things like cellular phones TDMA/CDMA were designed to limit the impact of bandwidth waste of other multiplexing schemes like simple frequency multiplexing. After all this work designing this, then people think it's their right to without effort damage the effort spent to get other peoples' sharing system to work.

If you can't think of an example, citizens band radio is one that demonstrates the problems. Again CB band is free access much like the 2.4GHz ISM band - and have rules FCC places on CB radios much like wifi (and cellular but the cell companies have more say anyway).
Summarized (there are other rules on like ssb, but to simplify things, ignore them),
- stay on frequencies designated
- no more than 4 watts modulated
- do not constantly transmit

The first one will obviously interfere with other peoples' use, no question about that.
The second one - why? It's so that people in Baltimore don't have to hear the people in Washington DC. There are only 40 channels at the second revision of CB rules, which means only 40 unique transmitters can be broadcasting at any one time. If everyone transmits at 80W so that people can hear from Washington to Baltimore, then only 40 transmitters can be speaking at any one time. If however it's limited to 4W, granted you cannot have the distance anymore, 40 people in Washington can transmit and 40 in Baltimore, so there are 80 unique transmitters now that can communicate. There exist not-FCC approved devices called "linear amplifiers" that go up to 2000 watts. Some people just want to be heard through CB and use these unlawful devices. These things effectively blocks out a channel for hundreds of thousands of square miles, even the whole country. If 40 people did this and all took their own channel (really there would need to be 80 people) then a lot less people could use CB and it would just become another broadcast medium like AM radio.
The third one actually operates at the same principle as TDMA was invented for except technology did not exist at the time. Now instead of spatial separation as in #2, you now have temporal separation, so another set of people can use the radio waves when others are not using it. So instead of 80 unique transmitters, you can have hundreds of people in a city sharing the airwaves and hence the boom of CB radio. (And unfortunately there's still a limit with time and spatial multiplexing that eventually it still will become saturated with users, and coupled with no security and lack of a repeater service for those times you really needed to transmit for longer distances, lead to the usage downfall of CB.)

These basic rules still apply to any band though perhaps with different powers and duty cycles - CB, ISM 2.4GHz, radio, TV, Amateur, everything. Unfortunately money does talk so that's how they end up deciding who gets to use high wattage constant transmitting frequencies because these resources are fewer if they can span larger areas and time.

I do not understand what your point is, other than you feeling that FCC have no teeth and people should be able to transmit as much "noise" as one feels like. It is a hard judgment call that the FCC needs to make when trying to approve hardware - indeed there are some subjective qualities that are at stake here as to what's acceptable or not, but ultimately people are greedy and will do whatever it takes to get heard, and then only those who have these ridiculous tools get to use the airwaves. FCC is just trying to make the job of those people who think they should be heard or think they have the right to silence other people by overriding their carrier - difficult.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

His point seems pretty clear to me. The FCC's goal is to ensure fair and equitable use of the limited bandwidth resources. The most efficient way to ensure fair use is to outlaw unfair use, then insist that devices prevent unlawful usage (as opposed to insisting that users exercise the good sense not to engage in unlawful usage). Most manufacturers take the approach that device-based prevention is most expediently done in software running as part of the core operating system of the device. As such, if you can replace that operating system, you can bypass the prevention. Manufacturers, whether rightly or not, act as if they are obligated not only to prevent accidental misuse of the as-sold component, but also as if they are obligated to prevent intentional misuse of any component modified in any supported way. To satisfy that goal, they cannot support any mechanism that would allow the end user to bypass the technical prevention measures, even if the mechanism is so convoluted that no one could accidentally invoke it. Since replacing the software governor lets you easily bypass those measures, they cannot support replacing that governor. Since they chose not to make that governor a discrete component, they cannot let you replace any part of the operating system without letting you replace that governor. Thus, to achieve their chosen goal that no supported mechanism can allow any bypass, and to achieve their internal design goal that the governor be as cheap as possible (thus a software module running in the core OS, rather than a dedicated subsystem that can remain unmodified when the main operating system is replaced), they lock out all possible modifications, including those that have nothing to do with modifying the governor or violating transmission rules. This makes economic sense, but is directly hostile to the FOSS mentality, which says that all software components that can be replaced without bringing the device out of compliance with the law ought to support end-user replacement.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, that's the main FOSS issue, the hardware manufacturers don't want to seem like they're the evil guys and thus try to shift blame to the FCC or whatever radio wave regulation organization your local area has. But ultimately it's still the hardware manufacturer who's trying to conveniently preclude the use of FOSS, not the FCC, granted with partially SDTs it's easy to "blame" FCC for being FOSS hostile when actually it's the hardware manufacturer trying to save a buck and trying to shift the blame.

FCC rules are there specifically to prevent "Watt Wars" not FOSS wars, as the only way to transmit for longer distances and over all the other "noise" (specifically, other peoples' use) is to increase transmitted watts. If we did not have the FCC or some rules governing airwaves, things like TDMA/CDMA would have never been invented, pirate (which wouldn't really be pirate anymore) radio would be rampant, and cellphones would only be available to the people who can afford connecting a car battery to their phone to transmit at 100 watts over your neighbor's puny 50 watt radio, instead of the little batteries we use today in our phones.

(another thing that should be pointed out is that everyone who transmits stuff needs to get a "license" from the FCC or the radio regulation body that shows that they are willing to accept the rules of the road to not interfere with other peoples' use of the road (in this case, airwaves.) However, note that end users do not obtain a license to accept the rules when using a cell phone or CB radio - the manufacturer of your device did. So the hardware manufacturer is obliged to follow the rules. Perhaps the best way is if each person in the world who uses radio equipment must get a radio license instead, then everyone would know and understand the rules and therefore the blame would be shifted back to the end user, and now the hardware manufacturer can no longer blame the FCC for not wanting to release API for their hardware. However nobody wants to study for an examination before using cellphones, CB radios, computers that emit noise, or microwave ovens...)
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

R0b0t1 wrote:
I would be excited about it, as it is the most open solution that is available on the market today. It fits the criteria of open source as an unmodifiable black box with a (mostly) nonprogrammable interface.
I didn't say I wasn't excited about the product; in fact I'm seriously considering plunking down $599 for one. I'm just not particularly interested in the difference between the (most likely closed source) baseband code running on separate physical vs. logical cores. With regard to how open the platform is, it's a distinction without a difference.
R0b0t1 wrote:
... Then there are the cryptography concerns, which personally do not seem very valid as the standards used are provably weak. It is possible to have PKI on user controlled hardware.
What standards are those that are provably weak? In my experience, modern silicon with native trusted boot uses a hardware anchored public root of trust key no weaker than RSA2048. Other hardware features allow vendor created signing keys to be hardware anchored at manufacturing time. Part of the issue that strict FOSS aficionados have with these sort of restrictions is not that the cryptography is weak but that it is strong.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm actually kind of unsure what the proper interface between OSS and hardware needs to be to be a "no closed blob" policy. Usually I've not minded if there is a baseband processor unrelated to the main computational processor that deals with the radio; that processor, as long as it does not need frequent updates (as in, it must get no more than 1 update every 2 years or so, must have been proven to be bug free, and must be upgradeable separately), that's acceptable to have a closed source blob. I would love to have the capability to change it however I want ala FOSS but if it's just doing baseband manipulation, more likely than not I won't need to touch it.

The trouble however is if the cellphone carriers require that baseband processor manipulation to make sure your particular unit does not interfere with other people on the network. THIS however is not technically directly a FCC violation to muck with and screw up, it only affects the other customers that share that band, however now you're fscking with the cell carrier's service and as soon they know you're doing this, they'll happily kick you as a customer. Now you're now a rogue operator, you're subject to FCC violations as you don't have a license to transmit on that band. I suspect Verizon or AT&T would not be so pleased if you hacked your phone to start transmitting on all sorts of different code keys not yours, transmit out of turn, or change your IMEI any way you feel like. After all the band you're using is NOT your band - it's Verizon's/AT&T's band that they paid the license to use.

I've noted some phones have a traditional Hayes command set when connecting to the network interface, this seems like a good cooked way of transmitting data. However I suspect this is kind of outdated now (anyone know?), plus to cheapen the devices, the firmware that handles the +++ATH0 commands are now merged into the main firmware, hence making the two "hard to separate" according to hardware manufacturers. What to do about this case is hard to tell, though chances are I won't need to ever change this firmware and don't mind a blob as long as I can change the rest of the firmware freely. Again if the serial interface is gone and must be done through an undocumented API/ABI I'd be quite displeased.

---

And that [TPM/TrustZone/whatever "secure boot"] I'm worried about too, ideally hardware manufacturers should give the hardware *purchasers* the key to run any software they choose; however it turns out ultimately hardware manufactures only want you to run software THEY want you to choose among. This is not general purpose computing anymore!

I don't know how worried the hardware enthusiast is with boot/firmware viruses compared to the layperson (of which most bankers are part of). Personally as long as I have a way to checksum my firmware outside of the computer itself and prevent overwrite by software (i.e. require hardware change to allow writes), I'm happy with that solution. But I'd imagine the hedge fund managers do not accept this solution and require layman's method: trusting the hardware/software manufacturer to do it for them.

I'd imagine the unwashed masses also wouldn't mind it this way to make sure their oh so personal information doesn't get stolen by hackers...

*Sigh* Then again, not like it hasn't already happened, we're already running this bull***t behind the scenes - I think pretty much all PCs made in the last decade or more are already like this, likely even BIOS ones.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hu wrote:
His point seems pretty clear to me. The FCC's goal is to ensure fair and equitable use of the limited bandwidth resources. The most efficient way to ensure fair use is to outlaw unfair use, then insist that devices prevent unlawful usage (as opposed to insisting that users exercise the good sense not to engage in unlawful usage).
I have no problem understanding the law. The law does not say that hardware manufacturers must lock the code on their devices. Repeating the justification for an unrelated portion of the law is not making his opinion any more valid.
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eccerr0r
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Joined: 01 Jul 2004
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Location: almost Mile High in the USA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No there is no law saying software needs to be locked. This is the hardware manufacturer's prerogative coupled with the requirements of the service provider (service provider (i.e. phone carrier)'s terms of service instead of "law").

The law is that the frequency must be locked. The law is that the power must be locked. The law is that it that people don't transmit when they're not allowed to transmit.

Law does not say that you're not allowed to interfere yourself. Again you did not license the band, you paid for a device that licensed the band and must play by the device's (hardware manufacturer coupled with carrier) rules. Yes they're in bed with each other, it wouldn't work otherwise.

There is no opinion here, these are just rules we need to live by to share the airspace, except the problem the hardware manufacturer is putting on us to simplify their requirements to stay on target and allow every single device out there to be a self destruct button.

If the ultimate question is whether or not everyone should be able to use their phone to deny use by all others in the vicinity by just pushing a few buttons on their screen, that's left up to you to decide. Really I believe that answer is "yes" because I understand these laws and why they're there and hence won't ever do it. But even me, mistakes happen, and I can see why phone carriers do not want these things to be changed willy-nilly that could affect other customers wrecking their reputation for always-available service.
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