FCC Says Open Source Must Prove Secure to Be Used in SDR

Lora Bentley

The Federal Communications Commission is coming down hard on open source software used in software-defined radio, according to a News.com report. In commentary to a rule effective today, the FCC says,

A system that is wholly dependent on open-source elements will have a high burden to demonstrate that it is sufficiently secure to warrant authorization as a software-defined radio.

Apparently the position stems from regulators' belief that the public nature of the open source development model renders open source software more vulnerable to attack. But many in the software arena don't agree.


News.com quotes SDR Forum's Bernard Eydt as follows:

There is no reason why regulators should discourage open-source approaches that may in the end be more secure, cheaper, more interoperable, easier to standardize, and easier to certify.

Moreover, the Software Freedom Law Center is weighing in with a white paper on the issue. SFLC attorneys want to assure independent open source developers and distributors that they can continue to work on SDR software "without restriction." The rules governing SDR, according to the white paper's executive summary,

...do not restrict the activities of independent developers and distributors of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) designed for use with SDR devices.

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