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SubjectRe: Honest does not pay here ...
On Sun, 2003-01-05 at 19:01, Andrew McGregor wrote:
> I've had some discussion with an ex-NVidia guy who was there while they
> were doing the driver release.
> They wanted to dual GPL/BSD license the kernel part in the first place,
> then they realised they had a problem. They don't own the copyright on all
> that code themselves, nor do they have the right to redistribute specs for
> all of the hardware without NDA, because it consists in part of purchased
> 'IP blocks' (as hardware people call libraries). So in the end they've
> opened up as far as they were allowed by preexisting constraints.
> Remember, the hardware was not constructed with an open source driver in
> mind. It's fairly easy to build hardware which can have open source
> drivers (you choose your IP block vendors carefully), but NVidia did not do
> that in the first place, and now they are stuck.

I was not aware of all of this as being the case. I am sorry they are
stuck in such a bad position. It does raise my opinion of them quite a

> So your belief about hardware is just plain false, unfortunately. You're

No, my belief may not reflect what is, but that doesn't make it false.
I know there were, at least until recently, countries that actually
dictated what I said by law. Again, how much did reality follow the
laws... your guess would probably be better than mine.

> free not to buy their hardware, but I don't think you are being fair to dis
> them when they appear to have gotten the point of open source but been
> stymied by other vendors. NVidia do try hard to give you the right to use
> their stuff with Linux, but there is only so far they can go.
> I expect if Linux makes them enough money, they might buy the rights they
> don't have, and release the driver in full. But don't expect that to
> happen soon, because if you think proprietary software licenses can be
> expensive, you haven't seen hardware.

I expect that IP is expensive to buy. Anyway, thank you for explaining
the Nvidia situation to me. I really hope they do figure out some
things soon. (Even if that is just how to make kernels with their
modules loaded more stable and easier to debug.)

"What makes his world so hard to see clearly is not its strangeness but
its usualness. Familiarity can blind you." -- Robert M. Pirsig

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