GNU Radio

From LWN I learned about GNU Radio.

GNU Radio has captured my imagination. It is about normal people using previously off limits broadcast spectrum to do things previously thought impossible.

It is about making it easier for people to help out following disasters. It is about the New Orleans debacle never ever ever happening again. Ever. It is about telecommunications that serve the interests of us better. Is is about more small radio stations. It is about better ways to get the internet at your house. It is about improving the speed of your internet connection and the quality of your television sooner.

The Forbes article LWN links to is poor. It did have one good quote from Eben Moglen though:

My goal is to do all of the work it takes to be explaining to the Supreme Court in 2025 why broadcasting is unconstitutional.

That is brilliance.

I’ve always assumed that one person transmitting on a radio frequency at a particular location denies the use of that frequency to others around them. I suspect that with new digital tuners which can hop around the spectrum, this is not as true as it used to be.

What gets lost in Richard Stallman jokes and generally poor FSF image is the fact that they keep their eyes on the ball. I think folks outside the FSF forget what the ball is. The FSF ball is to reduce scarcity in the world through free technology. It is easy to underestimate how effective this can be.

Conventional wisdom (including mine) about radio spectrum is widely held to be one of scarcity. True to form, the FSF is there explaining tirelessly that the scarcity is mythical, and the true available abundance will improve life for everybody.

My respect for the FSF has increased by an order of magnitude.

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