Harald Welte Exposes Netgear Open Source Router Sham

Oct 09, 2009

With his GPL-Violations.org initiative, Harald Welte has often interceded on the behalf of GPL licensing. His current bone of contention is NetGear's WNR3500L "open source" router.

Router maker Netgear announced their WNR3500L Wireless-N Gigabit device at the same time as their new MyOpenRouter community. As Harald Welte writes in his blog, the WNR3500L unfortunately has the problem of being "binary-only" kernel mode code and therefore closed source, contrary to its claims of being "open source." Apart from this annoying fact, the binary modules also provide a security risk, notes Welte, because they can't be updated with security fixes.

Welte also sees some questionable legal practices. He feels that the company is trying to avoid copyright claims from writers of parts of the kernel against Netgear's binary-only modules.

Bone of contention: Netgear's "open source" WNR3500L router as part of its MyOpenRouter community offering.

He further argues that Netgear may not fully understand the open source market they're trying to serve and that Netgear should be advised about the community's rules and values. He suggests contacting Netgear product managers "to help them understand the embarrassment and PR impact that they are putting themselves into" with their "open source" claims.

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