SNBForums Policy on ASUS TM-AC1900 Conversion Discussion

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bennor

Senior Member
ASUS did not request the removal of this material or otherwise influence my actions.
If not Asus then what did influence the removal of, or was the cause to remove, a long running thread (and people's private PM's) on changing the firmware of a router? Will other topics like the Merlin firmware be removed for similar cause? Where is the line drawn on what can be discussed and what cannot when it comes to flashing non original vendor firmware to a router? Will discussions on changing the CFE on other manufacturer's routers likewise now be removed when created?
 

bennor

Senior Member
Pretty sure the EULA for both these routers doesn't permit reverse engineering and that you are granted a license to use the firmware but you do not own it.
Typically yes an EULA will have some boilerplate language in there on certain product issues. However, don't recall seeing an EULA in the little pamphlet that came with the TM-AC1900. Don't remember seeing any sort of check box that one typically clicks to agree to an EULA when accessing the router's GUI for the first time. I was going through the TMO GUI fast so its possible I missed it.

The Asus RT-AC68U User Manual does have a GNU license section and it states; "This product includes copyrighted third-party software licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License." and has the typical generic language; "You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License." It is not clear (at least to me) based on reading the GNU and other information in that user manual if one is violating any license or agreement by changing the CFE or the device's firmware. There does not appear to be any language indicating one cannot change the CFE and or reverse engineer the CFE or firmware (unless I missed it).
 

Marcustaz

New Around Here
Extremely disappointed in this decision! A wealth of information was taken down without a warning and that is just not cool. Deleting members PM's??? I guess you read them too??? Really not cool, what is this facebook? Future monetary support ie donations will no longer come from my paypal. Good day!!!
 

Marcustaz

New Around Here
I created this account just to express my displeasure of censoring discussion of modding the TM-1900.

This is hardware we purchased and own. I do not see any harm in allow us to discuss modifications to our own property. Hopefully another forum picks up the torch.
I have to disagree with the decision to shut down TM-AC1900 discussions. I have owned Asus routers from N66 to 3 AC68u to 3 RT-AC3100 and also an AC88U. I had sold my AC68u to upgrade to AC3100/88U before AiMesh came out. As I was sure AiMesh wasn't mature and I didn't want to spend a lot of money beta-testing for Asus, I got the TM-AC1900 to test before moving my AC3100 to AiMesh with the intent of selling the TM routers after I'm satisfied with AiMesh performance. Now, my beta-testing of AiMesh is more perilous than before unless I want to use my genuine Asus units. There are a number of TM-AC1900 owners who got locked into TM firmware after the lockdown and would like to now use a non-TM and non-Asus forked firmware such as DD-WRT but who now can't. Keeping the discussions alive may have helped them in revert out of TM firmware.

Now, I support Asus in general as a company (bought their motherboards too) and also RMerlin, but if TM-AC1900 is supposed to be a TM product, then neither Asus nor RMerlin should have any say in terms of whether TM-AC1900 should be allowed to be hacked. They can say that you're not allowed to put their firmwares on TM-AC1900 and have every right to booby trap their firmwares to not let you put it on, but it's up to the end-user what they want to do with their TM-AC1900, including hacking and loading third-party firmwares. TM has the right to say that discussions on hacking TM-AC1900 should not be allowed but I doubt TM cares as discussions on TM-AC1900 hacking has been going on for years and TM-AC1900 is a discontinued product (not to mention that TM probably cares much more about running the cell business then its deprecated routers). Now, it would have been nice had Asus let people know about the lockdown before it happened out of good will (though I agree that Asus has no obligation to) and I hope that RMerlin will do that in the future if RMerlin firmwares will also propagate the lock down (though from what I've read, I doubt that RMerlin will take that step).

Above thoughts aside, perhaps the latest hacks to bypass the lockdown scared Asus in that there is no other way for Asus to lockdown TM-AC1900 and that is why discussions on TM-AC1900 have been banned? If that's the case it is unfortunate because well, censorship doesn't work on the Internet (unless you're China) and methods of defeating the lockdown are already out in the wild and will continue to be out in the wild.

Last thought, I hope this post doesn't get deleted as it does not discuss in any way how to defeat the lockdown.

Well said!!!
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
@Sammy2 @bennor The most obvious issue to my mind is that it's the same situation as this. So whilst Asus manufactured the hardware it is not an Asus device it is a T-Mobile device. As such, running the current Asus firmware on it is illegal because it includes Asus proprietary code that was never licenced to T-Mobile.
 

bennor

Senior Member
@Sammy2 @bennor The most obvious issue to my mind is that it's the same situation as this. So whilst Asus manufactured the hardware it is not an Asus device it is a T-Mobile device. As such, running the current Asus firmware on it is illegal because it includes Asus proprietary code that was never licenced to T-Mobile.
The issue is a bit more complicated and muddy. While TMO may have sold these devices in the past the hardware clearly is labeled Asus both front and back in addition to having TMO labling. TMO is dumping (selling) these routers to the public even if indirectly. At what point does the "legal" restrictions Asus may have placed on TMO expire if the device is sold via a third party and no longer supported by TMO? It appears to be a bit of a gray area.

Does Asus block the modification of the CFE on their other routers? If not but are doing so on the TMO routers that indicates they are taking a different tack on the TMO routers than their other routers.

In the end though it is not clear, at least to me, what licenses or agreements an end user is agreeing to if they buy one of these routers from Amazon beyond the default GNU license.

Edit to add: And people keep saying it's "illegal" to run Asus firmware on non Asus routers. What specific law or statute (and in which country) makes it "illegal"? Are we talking criminal illegal or civil illegal? There is a GNU license covering the device. Where in that GNU license indicates one cannot use the firmware on a TMO rotuer? Merlin firmware likewise uses Asus firmware, are they also providing so called "illegal" firmware if one uses it on an Asus router? Its a gray area at least to me.
 
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Sammy2

Regular Contributor
The issue is a bit more complicated and muddy. While TMO may have sold these devices in the past the hardware clearly is labeled Asus both front and back in addition to having TMO labling. TMO is dumping (selling) these routers to the public even if indirectly. At what point does the "legal" restrictions Asus may have placed on TMO expire if the device is sold via a third party and no longer supported by TMO? It appears to be a bit of a gray area.

Does Asus block the modification of the CFE on their other routers? If not but are doing so on the TMO routers that indicates they are taking a different tack on the TMO routers than their other routers.

In the end though it is not clear, at least to me, what licenses or agreements an end user is agreeing to if they buy one of these routers from Amazon beyond the default GNU license.

Edit to add: And people keep saying it's "illegal" to run Asus firmware on non Asus routers. What specific law or statute (and in which country) makes it "illegal"? Are we talking criminal illegal or civil illegal? There is a GNU license covering the device. Where in that GNU license indicates one cannot use the firmware on a TMO rotuer? Merlin firmware likewise uses Asus firmware, are they also providing so called "illegal" firmware if one uses it on an Asus router? Its a gray area at least to me.
"You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License."

Copying the firmware from an RT-AC68U to a TM-AC1900 seems to be prohibited by the licence expressed for the Asus unit.

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
 

Sammy2

Regular Contributor
..Not that I care mind you..

Seems to be basic greed to me and I still believe a court could find both companies liable if a real or expected loss occurs due to their lack of keeping the TM f/w updated for current security leaks.

Even Microsoft will continue to provide MSE updates after Win7 reaches EOL because they realize their potential liability.

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
The issue is a bit more complicated and muddy.
I agree to an extent, and I'm not particularly trying defend one view or another. But at the end of the day the device was bought from T-Mobile and not Asus. So if you have issues they need to be addressed to T-Mobile.
Edit to add: And people keep saying it's "illegal" to run Asus firmware on non Asus routers. What specific law or statute (and in which country) makes it "illegal"? Are we talking criminal illegal or civil illegal?
I agree that the term "illegal" is perhaps incorrect but I'm not sure what the correct term would be for "using proprietary, copyrighted software without permission or paying the appropriate licence fees". It's the same as running a pirate copy of Microsoft Word.
There is a GNU license covering the device. Where in that GNU license indicates one cannot use the firmware on a TMO rotuer? Merlin firmware likewise uses Asus firmware, are they also providing so called "illegal" firmware if one uses it on an Asus router? Its a gray area at least to me.
There is no problem running GNU/GPL software AFAIK, that's not the issue. The issue is running non-GPL propriety software, like AiMesh, etc. and other code that Asus itself licenced from other companies like the NTFS drivers and Broadcom's CTF.
 
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bennor

Senior Member
"You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License."

Copying the firmware from aN RT-AC68U to a TM-AC1900 seems to be prohibited by the licence expressed for the Asus unit.
The GNU license is what it is. It also states in the preamble; "We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software." The GNU flips and flops back and forth on certain issues with respect to what is covered by the "license". No where does it indicate one can or cannot change/modify the CFE (which may or may not be covered by that GNU).

This whole thing is a mess. Can one change the router firmware/CFE they bought or not? Is it "legal" to so so? And what does "legal" mean (criminal or civil) in this instance? There is a lot of standard boilerplate legal language in the GNU but who knows how that would fair in court if one challenged it with this router due to how it was sold to TMO, then TMO (or someone else) dumping it into the retail market.

If Asus wants to limit their firmware to work on certain routers that is their right. BUT, they should clearly indicate that. It would appear Asus has removed the links to the prior RT-AC68U firmware from their website (at the moment of writing this post). Asus had several ways they could handle this issue with the limited number of TMO routers that are making their way to end users hands. They have chosen the current course of action that changes the end user's router without their consent or action.
 

wisegeek

Occasional Visitor
I guess its illegal to even talk about anything related to TM AC1900 via PM :D :D .They are still deleting (even as of today) any personal message that has TM AC1900 whoa

I don't get that ruling Tim..everything else is fair game this is Tim's forum he can manage however he wants even though I have a TM AC1900 this whole thing can be a pandora's box but there should be some indication from Tim' why he decided this for user's sake.

PM's are like underwear i don't get why someone should care what is in mine :)

SNB is a great resource.
 

AndreiV

Very Senior Member
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Case closed .
 

bennor

Senior Member
Not necessarily. It is not clear if one is engaged in "illegal" or "unlawful activity" or is otherwise violating any laws by changing the CFE or firmware of the TMO routes. So far its a gray area. What is legal in one nation/state/location may not be in a another. Not to mention civil vs criminal. But if the board mods/owners want to nuke threads/PM's its their right to do so. <shrugs>
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
So if Asus didn't request the content be removed... who did... and why... Inquiring minds want to know. LOL

I did... to save you from yourselves! :D

OE
 

AndreiV

Very Senior Member
Not necessarily. It is not clear if one is engaged in "illegal" or "unlawful activity" or is otherwise violating any laws by changing the CFE or firmware of the TMO routes. So far its a gray area. What is legal in one nation/state/location may not be in a another. Not to mention civil vs criminal. But if the board mods/owners want to nuke threads/PM's its their right to do so. <shrugs>

We reserve the right to remove or modify any Content submitted for any reason without explanation.


How much plainer does it need to be for you ???????

You agreed to the forum rules upon joining. The site owner / admin has made a decision ...... end of story.
 
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