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SubjectRe: Gauntlet Set NOW!
Or else find that the NV3x has some stonking quick CPU embedded, and apps 
talk GLX to it...

Strange how noone objects to APM BIOS calls or ACPI. I suspect a similar
effect can be had by sticking some flash on the card, then mapping it
(cached in system RAM for performance, of course!) and jumping into it.
Then provide a proprietary app (for instance, the binary part of the X
server, for a video driver) to load the right stuff in the flash. For that
matter, you could just copy_from_user the code straight out of a userland
binary. Not to mention fun with FPGAs. Ever seen DOOM run on a system
with no CPU at all? I have.

There are umpteen ways one can frustrate the pedants, and nothing to be
gained on either side by their insistence. And plenty to lose, because how
many companies for whom Linux is already marginal will bother?

I reckon if this is pushed that NVIDIA will abandon Linux and just say 'You
want UNIX on ix86? Buy the drivers from Accelerated X or whoever, or use
FreeBSD'. And probably I will too, and go and use a BSD for my product.
And maybe Andre will too, and that just makes free software (meaning GPL)
look bad. Which would not be good for the world in general.


--On Saturday, January 04, 2003 01:45:44 -0800 Andre Hedrick
<> wrote:

> There is a solution out there and as soon as I can verify it works,
> gameover for anyone thinking they will get access to soft IP again by
> banging a dead drum.
> CAM, Content Addressable Memory on a card.
> Usage will be to stuff any binary soft code now reclassified as "firmware"
> into a piece of hardware. Set the addressable memory hooks for what is
> now called the open source wrapper for binary objects, and game is over.
> There is hardware with a software core which is totally embedded for all
> practical purposes. Use your existing GPL wrapper and call it you new
> driver! Funny how people come up with ways to thwart the sticky fingers
> to rip off IP and hard work. Lets see how GPL goes to get soft IP locked
> into hardware.
> Force rules and license into places they do not belong, and evolution
> happens to push back and impose the boundaries of IP.
> Surprised ? Not me.
> Cheers,
> Andre Hedrick
> LAD Storage Consulting Group
> On Sat, 4 Jan 2003, Andrew McGregor wrote:
>> I am aware that there was little confirmation from other developers (so
>> far as I remember, there was some, plus a few dissenting views).
>> I was *only* talking about Linus' position, which I admit was being
>> selective in that context.
>> My real point was this: It appears to me that NVIDIA have gone as far
>> as they can in releasing the code to their driver. It has certainly
>> been my own policy to do so with various code, and the result was not
>> GPL because of legal constraints.
>> Punishing a company who have, with goodwill, opened up their code as far
>> as they were allowed by preexisting agreements for license issues is
>> not a smart move, and will only hurt the free software community in the
>> long run.
>> And to those who say 'well, just release the specs': Quite likely
>> NVIDIA did not design all the subsystems of their chips, but instead
>> bought 'IP block' licenses from someone else. The license NVIDIA have
>> access to those under probably will not allow that release, whether
>> NVIDIA would like to release that information or not.
>> Effectively, the binary part of the driver can be viewed as part of the
>> hardware, just as much as it can be viewed as part of the kernel. It is
>> constrained in hardware-like ways, not much like software at all.
>> My view, for what it's worth, is that if binary modules are not allowed
>> by the kernel being GPL, then it is worth going to some trouble to
>> allow binary hardware drivers by some other mechanism than a module,
>> since it is effectively impossible to change the license on the kernel
>> now, as you correctly point out. Even if they want to, many hardware
>> vendors will not be able to release full specifications or GPL code for
>> quite some time, and it is better to allow those that are motivated to
>> to open up as much as they can, than to require only that hardware for
>> which full information or GPL-able code is available to be used with
>> Linux. And saying that the vendor then has to assume all the
>> maintenance trouble keeps the pressure on them to evolve toward
>> openness.
>> Andrew
>> --On Saturday, January 04, 2003 02:12:09 -0500 Ryan Anderson
>> <> wrote:
>> > On Sat, Jan 04, 2003 at 12:56:53PM +1300, Andrew McGregor wrote:
>> >
>> > [snip]
>> >
>> >> Linus has made it quite clear in the past that his position on binary
>> >> modules is that they are explicitly allowed, but that the maintainers
>> >> of such a thing 'get everything they deserve' in terms of maintenance
>> >> hassle.
>> >
>> > I *really* think you need to do some searches on this list to verify
>> > this statement.
>> >
>> > Let me summarize what I remember from past discussions of this nature.
>> >
>> > Linus put his code under the GPL. Contributions came in, under the
>> > same license. At some point, the first binary only module showed up.
>> > When asked about the legality, Linus said something to the effect of,
>> > "I think they're ok."
>> >
>> > Note the lack of clarification from the other (miriad) copyright
>> > holders?
>> >
>> > In summary - If you want to write binary only modules, you need to talk
>> > to a lawyer that understands the issues involved. "Linus said they
>> > were ok" doesn't even begin to encompass the number of copyright
>> > holders involved.
>> >
>> >
>> > --
>> >
>> > Ryan Anderson
>> > sometimes Pug Majere
>> >
>> >
>> -
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