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Re: Testing a linksys WRT54GS.

  • To: Rickard Dahlstrand <
  • From: Henk Uijterwaal <
  • Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2005 23:25:43 +0200


However, one issue keeps nagging me and that's the legal part of it.
It's more or less clear that a user would void the warranty if he
installs a custom firmware. So what if RIPE distributes a firmware that
breaks peoples devices? I have no idea if this is a problem or not since
I'm not a lawyer, but it might be a good thing to investigate.
Trying to understand the issues here:

(1) Let's assume for a second that the RIPE NCC distributes a broken
firmware, the user uploads it to his WRT54GS and finds out that the
device suddenly stops doing anything useful.

I guess that the first thing one wants to do then, is to restore
the original firmware. This requires a copy of whatever was originally
installed. Is this available? Can the user make one? Is it
possible to force a firmware onto the device? If this can be done,
then the problem is relatively easy: we distribute our firmware as is,
with no guarantees.

(2) Is it possible that a broken firmware will actually break the device.
I have read warnings that using the wrong Xwindows driver can damage
a graphics card but I've never seen this in practice, and to be honest,
I always find it a bit hard to believe that software can damage hardware.

(3) We obviously do not plan to distribute broken firmware upgrades
so we will extensively test them before distributing. BUT this obviously
requires that the Linksys we use, is identical to what the user has.
Are all these devices identical? Are there flavors, (i.e. if one buys
a PC from D***, one often finds small difference between series)?


Henk Uijterwaal Email: henk.uijterwaal(at)
RIPE Network Coordination Centre
P.O.Box 10096 Singel 258 Phone: +31.20.5354414
1001 EB Amsterdam 1016 AB Amsterdam Fax: +31.20.5354445
The Netherlands The Netherlands Mobile: +31.6.55861746

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