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SubjectRe: Open letter to the UDI folks?: Killing two birds with one stone

Sometimes it is good to be on the road for four weeks. I get to come back
and read the entire stream of conciousness, rather than get it a piece at
a time.

Here are some of my thoughts:

Adam is right. While LI embraces the OSD concepts, it is not exclusive.
We encourage people to be Open Source, but LI's main goal is to have them use
the Linux(R) operating system as an alternative to Microsoft.

Second, there is nothing that would stop someone from developing a binary-only
loadable device driver today, as long as they did it from scratch and did not
use any GPLed code. Difficult, yes. Impossible, no.

Third, while UDI does have the capability of allowing binary-only drivers
to be generated and distributed, its larger capability is to allow the same
APIs to go across operating systems. Therefore people who write device drivers
for *BSD or SPARC or Digital Unix will also be writing them for Linux. This
is a win-win situation.

Fourth, if you think that a hardware company will sit around waiting for
Linux developers to volunteer to write their device drivers on products which
often have a six month (or less) lifetime...this is highly unlikely. But
to allow a company to develop a device driver for all OSs at the same time,
and allow them to distribute it either in source or binary (or both) is a win.

Fifth, if you look at the companies listed on the web page, you will see that
most of them are now LI members:

o Compaq
o Sun
o Adaptec

with others becoming more "Linux minded" by the day:

o Intel

If you don't believe the last one, remember "Apache"....and I met six IBMers
at ISPcon who were bandishing penguins on the IBM stand.

Sixth, both several months ago and recently I talked with people from Intel
about I2O, and while they have promised this before, at least they are still
saying that the specification will be made public. Compaq's own engineers
have told me that this is the intent also.

Seventh, the Linux and Open Source community will speak with their dollars,
as they always have. Distributions that are all Open Source will remain
so, because that is what their customers want. And when the hardware vendors
wonder why their competitors are outselling them two to one, it will be
painfully obvious there are customers who are unwilling to go to a web site,
or load yet another CD-ROM to install proprietary drivers, and those customers
will not be wanting to buy hardware with proprietary drivers when there are
Open Source alternatives.

Distributions that do have proprietary software in them will probably continue
to have it, and may incorporate binary-only drivers. Customers will chose
whether or not to buy these distributions.

I will be happy to talk to the UDI and the I2O people, hopefully at the same
time. I may be able to kill two birds with one stone. It may take me a few
days, but I will.

Jon "maddog" Hall Internet:
Senior Leader, UNIX Software Group Executive Director, Linux(R) Intern'l

Compaq Computer Corporation Linux International
Mailstop ZK03-2/U15 80 Amherst St.
110 Spit Brook Rd. Amherst, N.H. 03031-3032 U.S.A.
Nashua, N.H. 03062-2698 U.S.A.

Voice: +1.603.884.1341 Voice: +1.603.672.4557
FAX: +1.603.884.6424 Board Member: Uniforum Association
Office: ZK03-2/V15 Board Member: USENIX Association

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