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    SubjectRe: Linux in a binary world... a doomsday scenario
    > Several hardware vendors that have been friendly to open source so far,
    > see their competitors ship only binary drivers, and internally they
    > start to see pressure to also keep the IP private, and they know that
    > they haven't used some features of the hardware because their legal
    > department didn't want that IP in the public. As a result they perceive
    > their competitors binary drivers to be at a theoretical advantage, or at
    > least their own drivers could be at an advantage if they were also
    > closed, because they then can use those few extra features to be ahead
    > of the competition. By February 1st 2006, about half the hardware
    > vendors have refocused their internal linux driver efforts to create
    > value adds in the binary drivers they will release in addition to the
    > open drivers that already exist. Some vendors even openly stopped
    > supporting the open drivers because they don't have enough resources
    > to do both.

    This is pretty much how the 3D drivers has gone down (as I'm sure
    Arjan knows) but just to back it up with others, ATI released enough
    info to make a basic 3D driver for their hardware to do OpenGL, they
    didn't give out any info on the "protected IP" like HyperZ, MPEG
    decoder, SmartShader, the list goes on, a lot of this has since been
    reverse engineered for the older chips, then NVIDIA didn't release any
    open source drivers, then ATI decided to go close source as they
    couldn't compete on the feature set they were willing (allowed by
    lawyers) to put into the open source drivers. ATI engineers now use
    the excuse well NVIDIA have a closed source driver so we have to have
    one to compete. Again neither company is willing to put resources into
    doing much on the open source scene due to lack of staff, reasons, and
    neither company is willing to give info to open source developers
    because they need to push it all past their legal departments (despite
    this info existing and a number of open source developers having
    access to it via $job).

    Intel are now starting to think about doing closed source only drivers
    from what I heard on the grapevine, and as their open drivers only
    provide modesetting via the BIOS, their drivers aren't exactly useful
    in many situations..

    Its a slippery slippery slope and all you people that bitch and moan
    about stable API really don't have a clue what it means, Arjans
    scenario is quite practical (it may take longer to happen but I doubt
    the future would be much different..)

    You'd also have issues with two binary drivers doing things in the
    kernel that might affect each other, like bad interrupt sharing or
    messing with pci setups for higher speeds, and no chance of getting
    them working in any controlled fashion together without vendor
    support.

    Dave.
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