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GNU Radio Thought for the day…

Open Source Software and


Hardware for Software Radio The milk of disruptive
innovation doesn’t flow from
cash-cows.
Eric Blossom eb@comsec.com
– David S. Isenberg
Blossom Research +1 831 224 3000
798 Lighthouse Ave., Suite 109
Monterey, CA 93940 USA
Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Outline What’s GNU?

What’s GNU? The GNU Project was launched in 1984


Brief summary of software radio to develop a complete Unix-like
Free Software / Open Source operating system which is free software:
the GNU system.
GNU Radio
GNU is a recursive acronym:
Software ATSC receiver
GNU’s Not Unix
Regulatory Issues
“Broadcast Flag” Proposal
Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Software Radio… What is “free software?”

Get the software close to the antenna “Free as in liberty”


Turn h/w problems into s/w problems – User has access to the source
Extreme flexibility – User is free to modify and is encouraged
to contribute the modifications back to the
Dynamic spectrum optimization community
Dynamic reconfiguration Free Software vis-à-vis Open Source
Ride Moore’s law Various licenses: GNU General Public
License (GPL), BSD, MIT, Mozilla
Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

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Culture: Innovation Culture: Exploration & Learning

Berkeley TCP / IP stacks Nothing hidden, no magic


 

Bind / DNS (heart of internet naming) Take it apart and see how it works
 

Sendmail internet mail server See how others solved similar problems
 

“The Web” Don’t have to ask permission


 

Apache Web Server Doesn’t cost anything but your time


 

Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Culture: Fix and improve Who uses free software?

If something is broken, you can fix the World wide community of users
 

problem. 

Publicly traded companies support or


If it doesn’t work the way you like, distribute free software: IBM, HP, Red


you’re free to improve it or tailor it to Hat, Mandrake


your needs. 

Google runs on GNU/Linux


You’re not stuck with somebody else’s


Yahoo runs on FreeBSD




design decisions. 

Not a fringe activity


Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Innovation: reality check What is GNU Radio?

Incumbents are constrained not to put Toolbox for building software radios
 

themselves out of business. It’s their 

A platform for experimenting with


duty to their stock holders. digital communications
Incumbents are anti-innovation if the


A platform for signal processing on




innovation threatens their business commodity hardware


model.

Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

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Vision Hardware platform

Create a practical environment for Commodity PC or embedded system


 

experimentation & product delivery 

RF front end (e.g., TV tuner module)


Expand the “free software ethic” into


Multi-channel applications / wide B/W:




what were previously hardware – High speed A/D (20M – 60M samples/sec)
intensive arenas
Single channel / narrow bandwidth:


Transmit and receive any signal




– SoundBlaster, AC97 codec, etc.

Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

What can GNU Radio do today? Where we’re headed…

Broadcast and narrow band FM Narrow band encrypted digital voice


 

Single and multi-channel processing (APCO 25)


Ad hoc networking


Signal analysis tools




Smart antennas


Fully functional ATSC Transmitter




Better tools / improved architecture




Fully functional ATSC Receiver




Support for amateur radio users




Free code for all this is available at




distribution sites around the world Build user and developer base


Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Open source hardware Open source hardware

The “IP” is free to use Under development (the Big Hammer):




Includes VHDL or Verilog code, board – USB 2.0 peripheral (50 MB/sec throughput)


layouts, etc – 4 high speed A/D converters (60 MSPS)


Many examples already: ethernet, usb,


– 4 high speed D/A converters (120 MSPS)


pci bridges, crypto, dsp, cpu, fpu,… – 300K gate FPGA
Can make money selling


– Estimated price: $250 (c.f. $5000 for


implementations, e.g. ASICs, but IP existing commercial products)
remains free – Fully reconfigurable / general purpose
Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

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Regulatory issues: Receivers Regulatory issues: Transmitters

Drop “bans”. They never worked. Illusion vs More unlicensed spectrum




reality. If I feel safe, I must be safe…


Simple restrictions on power spectrum


Use crypto if you don’t want your




Smart radios can fend for themselves




communication intercepted.
Lead, follow or get out of the way


Today’s cell phones are crypto enabled.




Treat receivers as part 15 unintentional




radiators, and allow self-certification same


as computer hardware.

Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

ATSC “Broadcast Flag” ATSC “Broadcast Flag”

Not needed. Restricts innovation and choice




– Content providers are providing high 

Kills all “fair use”. Note that fair use is


production value content today.
by definition “unauthorized”
– Content providers are free NOT to
broadcast their content. No open source software can meet the


Won’t accomplish stated goal. “robustness requirements”


– A single non-compliant receiver will 

Unconstitutional restriction of my
compromise the entire system. (see First Amendment protected speech
Microsoft “Darknet” paper.)
Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

GNU Radio resources Open source resources

Home page (links to source code) Free Software Foundation http://www.gnu.org


 

http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuradio 

Source Forge (> 50K projects, > 500K users)




Mailing list http://www.sf.net


discuss-gnuradio-request@gnu.org 

Why Open Source Software / Free Software?




Archive http://www.dwheeler.com/oss_fs_why.html
http://mail.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss-gnuradio 

Open source hardware


– http://www.opencores.com
– PCI bridges, ethernet, memory controllers, etc.

Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

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Questions?

Copyright © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.