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SubjectRe: Why is Nvidia given GPL'd code to use in closed source drivers?
On Thu, Jan 02, 2003 at 10:00:42PM -0700, Erik Andersen wrote:
> On Thu Jan 02, 2003 at 08:06:12PM -0800, Larry McVoy wrote:
> > On Thu, Jan 02, 2003 at 10:32:30PM -0500, Richard Stallman wrote:
> > > But we could make do with even less cooperation than that. If they
> > > just provide the necessary specs to a person who wants to extend the
> > > free drivers that exist, that would be sufficient.
> >
> > Yeah, if only the company that has invested millions in trying to scratch
> > out a place to stand, if only they would give us their intellectual
> > property for free, if only, why then we could steal that IP and give it
> > to other people. And it would take us less time to do it if they would
> > only cooperate. Why won't they cooperate?
> >
> > How dare they not give of the fruits of their labors for free.
> Unless I am terribly mistaken, Nvidia is a _hardware_ company.
> Their IP is a piece of silicon, fans, connectors, and resistors
> that you go to the store and _buy_. If you go visit pricewatch,
> it becomes immediately clear they are certainly not giving away
> their graphics cards for free. No one (not even rms) would
> expect them to give away their hardware for free. It takes money
> to design and produce such products, and they deserve a fair
> chance to make $$$ for their efforts.
> If they are worried their competitors might try to do the same
> nifty things with competing hardware, they should patent the
> methods used by their nifty 3D hardware.

It's virtually impossible to patent every aspect of a product, be it
software or hardware. I'm well aware of the tradeoffs, and I know that
every company gambles to some extent. You simply can't cover all the
bases, you don't really know in advance which of the cool ideas will
pay off. Sometimes it's the bad ideas which pay off.

Given that patents don't cover everything, disclosing how your product
works is doing nothing except helping your competition. If you don't
disclose, you buy time. What you are suggesting is that Nvidia give up
that time. In return for what? Your whining? Wow, that's inspiring.

I am REALLY REALLY fed up with all the armchair quarterbacks on this list.
If you all think you have it so figured out, then get off your ass and
go start a company. Give out full access to all of your IP, give out
everything that you have been asking for, and make your company survive.
Oh, having a little trouble getting VC while you give away your IP?
Oh darn. Don't forget to patent everything at $15K/patent. What,
the VC people won't give you the money for that because you gave away
your IP. Huh. Guess that wasn't such a winning plan after all, was it.
Jeez, didn't make payroll this week either, did ya? But it all sounded
so good when you were telling other people how to do it. What went wrong?

It is oh-so-easy to sit around and say "this is what should be done".
Try being on the other end of that statement for a while and then
tell us how it should be done.

Stop whining, start doing, and until you've done so, shut the f*ck up.

Larry McVoy lm at
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