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SubjectRe: Why is Nvidia given GPL'd code to use in non-free drivers?
On Sat, Jan 04, 2003 at 12:52:26AM -0800, Shane R. Stixrud wrote:
> Your position is based on the flawed assumption that the software world
> will ever have enough functionality or run out of problems to solve. Even
> in the roofing analogy its not every house has the same roof. Software is
> only going to get more complex not less.

My position is based on the observation that quite a significant
portion of features implemented for open source projects such as Linux
are provided by people that *cannot* directly benefit from the fruits
of their labour. Post a problem, or a bug report, and it is *likely*
that somebody will try to solve your problem, even if they do not have
your hardware, or their paying job does not relate to the open source
project at all.

It is based on good will, glory, thrill, enjoyment, distraction, and many
other benefits that do not put food on the table for your benefactor's
family.

This balance needs to be respected, not insulted. nVidia's driver is
not a patch to the roof of your house. nVidia's driver is software
that is released to allow Linux users the freedom to use nVidia
hardware. nVidia makes a lot more money from MSWIN32 users that it
does on Linux users. The software is protected either because nVidia
does not believe it is legal to distribute the source to their code,
or because they do not believe the benefits are worth the hassle. The
Linux community cannot lose something that it never had in the first
place.

Some people think that every company that needs an enhancement is
willing to pay people to enhance open source products, and that the
result will be returned to the public. The only real way that I can
see this working is if the Linux community as a whole created a
world-wide union that required all companies that wished to enhance
Linux would use to provide the enhancement. The pool of developers in
this union would be organized by knowledge and skill. The union
representantives would negotiate fair trades with companies,
encouraging companies to pool resources for features that are needed
by several companies.

Anything less is a little bit wishy washy. Maybe companies will pay
to have features implemented. Maybe companies will return the features
to the public. Maybe companies won't wait until somebody does it for
free. Maybe people who spend 37.5 hours a week working on Linux will
have food on the table for their family. Maybe a system exists. Maybe
companies know about the system.

Feeding ones family cannot be based on maybe.

mark

--
mark@mielke.cc/markm@ncf.ca/markm@nortelnetworks.com __________________________
. . _ ._ . . .__ . . ._. .__ . . . .__ | Neighbourhood Coder
|\/| |_| |_| |/ |_ |\/| | |_ | |/ |_ |
| | | | | \ | \ |__ . | | .|. |__ |__ | \ |__ | Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them...

http://mark.mielke.cc/

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