Netgear trying to fool their users with "Open Source Router"

Two days ago, Netgear has announced the so-called "Open Source" WNR3500L router, together with an equally "Open Source" MyOpenRouter community.

The problem with this Open Source router is: It ships with binary-only kernel modules. Not only is this extremely Closed Source, but it also

  • has very practical security implications: You can never update your Linux kernel to get the latest security fixes, but have to run vulnerable old kernel versions
  • is a very questionable legal practise. Netgear as the vendor is simply relying on the fact that none of the authors who have written parts of the kernel against which their binary-only module links will ever make copyright claims against them

One would have hoped that Netgear did thoroughly study the Open Source market that they're trying to address. Apparently they either did not do that, or they chose to ignore the values/rules by which this community works, or they had somebody with limited understanding to advise them on this.

If anyone has a relationship with Netgear and contacts to the product manager responsible for this product, I would like to ask them for an introduction to that product manager. I would be very happy to help them understand the embarrassment and PR impact that they are putting themselves into by releasing an "Open Source" product that is in fact legally questionable and proprietary.

There are people in the various communities (like OpenWRT or OpenMoko) who have a very clear understanding of what it takes to create a true Open Source product to address the Open Source market. Why are they not asking those experts?

Netgear, you can do much better than that!