And today that kind of hacking may be considered illegal if the
manufacturer decided to press charges.
Depending on what you're talking about, that's a load of bollocks. US
legislation has no bearing in other countries. Modifying something to
do what you want is not the same handing out "the secret code" to
others, nor is it of anyone else's concern if what you do doesn't
adversely affect someone else.
Yes, some countries explicitly permit reverse engineering. However,
many software processes are patented, so regardless of how you duplicate
them you are prohibited from distributing the results. And even if you
are willing to license the patented technology, the only way it would be
possible to legally include it as a part of Linux - or any GPL'd program
- would be if you are willing to pay for unlimited redistribution rights
yourself that would permit anyone who obtains it from you to
All in all, any manufacturer claiming your reasons for deliberately
knobbling a product, or withholding information, is just making silly
You DO understand the difference, don't you? In the case that you hack
the interface and create a driver that allows them to turn the hardware
into a death ray and incinerate San Francisco, it's not TI's fault?
And it is, if they gave you the information that permitted you to do this?
You _are_ just arguing for form's sake, right?
If there was any arguing just for the sake of it in these messages, it
was your deliberately ludicrously silly example, above.
The reasons don't matter. Even if you feel some technology is perfectly
wonderful and you want to support its development by paying reasonable
licence fees arranged in bulk by some 3rd party, that can't happen in
the context of something covered by the GPL. The only way you can
obtain it at all is to make individual arrangements for each component,
assemble the parts yourself, and never copy it. And, since the kernel
developers go out of their way to make that difficult, you'll have to
obtain a source code license for any drivers or get the supplier to
rebuild modules frequently as the kernel whimsically toys with its