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    Subject2.6.16 serious consequences / GPL_EXPORT_SYMBOL / USB drivers of major vendor excluded
    From
    Date
    on January 15th / major change in USB subsystem and GPL_EXPORT_SYMBOL
    declaration
    Greg Kroah-Hartman added a Patch to kernel 2.6.15-git12, which
    substantially changed the USB system.
    The module "usb.c" is now a module named "driver.c" which exports its
    symbols with EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL:
    -> usb_match_id; usb_register_driver; usb_deregister
    Novell added the official kernel 2.6.16 incl. this patch to OSS 10.1 beta.

    consequences
    Because of the GPL_EXPORT declaration it is no longer possible to build and
    run non-GPL loadable drivers for USB devices. We´ve put a lot of energy
    into providing the open source community with Linux drivers for nearly all
    of our products within the last six years. Today, the customer has the
    option to choose Windows or Linux drivers for AVM USB products. AVM is the
    market leader in the ISDN controller market with more than 80% market share
    in Germany (close to 50% in Europe). Moreover AVM is one of a handful
    manufacturers who provide a Linux driver for their WLAN USB devices.
    Technically, there are a number of reasons, e.g. service quality and
    reliability, to establish kernel mode drivers for communication devices
    offering services like Fax G3, analog modem etc. by means of software.

    conclusion
    If it is no longer possible to have non-GPL USB drivers, we shall have to
    drop our Linux support for all AVM USB devices. We would even have to
    discontinue the 802.11g++ WLAN USB device driver Linux developement.

    This mail is not intended to provoke a discussion of open vs closed source.
    The only intention of this mail is to make you aware of the consequences of
    such a decision.


    Kind Regards
    Sven Schmidt

    AVM Audiovisuelles Marketing und Computersysteme GmbH
    Alt-Moabit 95, 10559 Berlin, Germany
    http://www.avm.de

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