[lkml]   [2003]   [Jan]   [4]   [last100]   RSS Feed
Views: [wrap][no wrap]   [headers]  [forward] 
Messages in this thread
    SubjectRe: Gauntlet Set NOW!
    I am aware that there was little confirmation from other developers (so far 
    as I remember, there was some, plus a few dissenting views).

    I was *only* talking about Linus' position, which I admit was being
    selective in that context.

    My real point was this: It appears to me that NVIDIA have gone as far as
    they can in releasing the code to their driver. It has certainly been my
    own policy to do so with various code, and the result was not GPL because
    of legal constraints.

    Punishing a company who have, with goodwill, opened up their code as far as
    they were allowed by preexisting agreements for license issues is not a
    smart move, and will only hurt the free software community in the long run.

    And to those who say 'well, just release the specs': Quite likely NVIDIA
    did not design all the subsystems of their chips, but instead bought 'IP
    block' licenses from someone else. The license NVIDIA have access to those
    under probably will not allow that release, whether NVIDIA would like to
    release that information or not.

    Effectively, the binary part of the driver can be viewed as part of the
    hardware, just as much as it can be viewed as part of the kernel. It is
    constrained in hardware-like ways, not much like software at all.

    My view, for what it's worth, is that if binary modules are not allowed by
    the kernel being GPL, then it is worth going to some trouble to allow
    binary hardware drivers by some other mechanism than a module, since it is
    effectively impossible to change the license on the kernel now, as you
    correctly point out. Even if they want to, many hardware vendors will not
    be able to release full specifications or GPL code for quite some time, and
    it is better to allow those that are motivated to to open up as much as
    they can, than to require only that hardware for which full information or
    GPL-able code is available to be used with Linux. And saying that the
    vendor then has to assume all the maintenance trouble keeps the pressure on
    them to evolve toward openness.


    --On Saturday, January 04, 2003 02:12:09 -0500 Ryan Anderson
    <> wrote:

    > On Sat, Jan 04, 2003 at 12:56:53PM +1300, Andrew McGregor wrote:
    > [snip]
    >> Linus has made it quite clear in the past that his position on binary
    >> modules is that they are explicitly allowed, but that the maintainers of
    >> such a thing 'get everything they deserve' in terms of maintenance
    >> hassle.
    > I *really* think you need to do some searches on this list to verify
    > this statement.
    > Let me summarize what I remember from past discussions of this nature.
    > Linus put his code under the GPL. Contributions came in, under the same
    > license. At some point, the first binary only module showed up. When
    > asked about the legality, Linus said something to the effect of, "I
    > think they're ok."
    > Note the lack of clarification from the other (miriad) copyright
    > holders?
    > In summary - If you want to write binary only modules, you need to talk
    > to a lawyer that understands the issues involved. "Linus said they were
    > ok" doesn't even begin to encompass the number of copyright holders
    > involved.
    > --
    > Ryan Anderson
    > sometimes Pug Majere

    To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
    the body of a message to
    More majordomo info at
    Please read the FAQ at

     \ /
      Last update: 2005-03-22 13:32    [W:0.026 / U:59.960 seconds]
    ©2003-2016 Jasper Spaans. hosted at Digital OceanAdvertise on this site