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SubjectRe: Why is Nvidia given GPL'd code to use in closed source drivers?
On Thu, 02 Jan 2003, Larry McVoy wrote:

> 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?

Keeping "intellectual property" to oneself is NOT what has made mankind
leave the trees and build up civilization, medical care and all that
stuff. Community is the cause, some people specialized in hunting or
agriculture, some in building houses, whatever.

I understand many existences currently depend on holding back
information (be that publishers of scientific journals, be that
entertainment; movies), and a lot of restructuring would be necessary if
"intellectual property" was no longer protected. Maybe it takes one won GPL
infringement law suit or two with adequate compensation paid to the
plaintiff that companies get trust into GPL. It might not work for
BitKeeper because that stuff needs too little support because it's too
good (the old "hey, why are you installing inferior software at
your clients' sites?" -- "to sell support afterwards") or something. ;-)

Seriously: would NVIDIA really lose if they open sourced the drivers?

It's their hardware that really bangs and that carries the bucks into
their house. If someone is to reverse engineer what they're doing, they
can also reverse engineer the driver first and then the chip.

Of course, opensourcing means you can't cheat by just disabling
functions in software and you won't get away too long with cheating
benchmarks. Maybe people get the idea that cooperation is nicer than
competition unless it leads to a monopoly that's exploited.

> Give it up, Stallman, we live in a capitalistic world. The Russians
> tried communism and it didn't work. It won't work here either, the
> kernel folks aren't that stupid. Some people actually do learn from
> history.

And globalization + capitalism makes it that eventually only a monopoly
remains. Look at the oil market, look at Microsoft, look at the car
market or even food or pharmacy. Mergers everywhere, leading to layoffs,
raised gains, less competition. Ooops.

It's useful to have people around that think in other directions, they
make up for innovation. Linux is an offspring of such people's thoughts.

And from what is to be heard about ATI, the Macrovision stuff for the TV
outputs is one of the major reasons they are holding back source code.
Now assume it's true and think about the driver situation again. The
movie companies prevent you from improving ATI's TV output, ultimately.

This is exaggerated, but it might help stepping back and looking at the
WHOLE system.
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