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    SubjectEXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL for __symbol_get replacing EXPORT_SYMBOL for deprecated inter_module_get
    I believe that, in general, new functions which replace deprecated functions 
    which were exported as EXPORT_SYMBOL, should also be exported as
    EXPORT_SYMBOL, not as EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL. The reason I say this is because
    deprecation of old functions breaks old modules and drivers that use them,
    and changing the level of GPL strictness of the function prevents these old
    modules being updated and used with newer kernels.

    The case in point for me is ATI's binary openGL accelerated drivers (fglrx) -
    these used inter_module_get() to communicate with the agp gart module, for
    obvious reasons - this AGP communication is essential to the functionality of
    the driver. No, I don't like ATI only having closed-source drivers any more
    than you, but given the extremely competetive nature of high end video card
    sales, I can see why they want to do it this way. The point is that now, as
    of 2.6.11-? or 2.6.12-? (not sure of the exact revision), the
    inter_module_get() functions has been removed, and the functionality can only
    be got (as far as I can tell) through use of the symbol_get() function.

    Am I take it to mean that no closed-source / binary-only driver may use AGP
    acceleration in the future, including ones that have in the past? Or if an
    alternate method of AGP accelerated access exists (I dont know the kernel
    well enough to know for sure), does this mean companies which have at least
    been respectful enough to have provided linux drivers must now rewrite them
    to use an entirely different methodology in their drivers, write entirely new
    agp drivers which will then probably also be closed-source, and are likely to
    cause further problems down the line, or GPL drivers which contain code
    important to the competetiveness of the company? I think this is not a good
    situation for linux users or hardware manufacturers, and indeed shows Linux
    itself in a bad light.

    I respect and agree with the use of EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL to maintain new
    *software* functionality added by kernel developers, but when this prevents
    propriatary drivers from using advanced *hardware* features of common
    hardware connectivity devices like an AGP port, its silliness, plain and
    simple (I think this applies equally to other devices which are required for
    the connection of the device for which the propriatary driver was created,
    such as USB, PCI, serial, AGP, PCIExpress, firewire, IDA/SATA etcetc where
    DMA, ATA, fast serial (as provided by some Maxim chips with accelarated
    slew-rate) or other advanced advanced transfer modes are provided and enabled
    by the *harware*).

    Also, deprecating non-GPL-strict functionality and replacing it with
    GPL-strict funtionality is just as bad, in my view, as going through the
    kernel and randomly changing instance of EXPORT_SYMBOL to EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL -
    it has the same effect, of breaking established propriatary drivers, and
    forcing companies which do not feel that they can GPL the source and maintain
    their competetive advantage, to rewrite their drivers to use alternate
    methods (which they therefore have no certainty will be available in the
    future either), or dropping support altogether (which I'm sure nobody really
    wants). If Linux had a near-monopoly market share, it might be possible to
    get away with such strong-arm tactics in the interest of spreading the FSF
    distribution philosophy - but then again, look what similar tactics did to
    public opinion of the distribution philosophy of a certain Redmond company
    which did have near-monopoly market share.... I shudder at the thought of the
    point being applicable to Linux, but I think it must be made in order to
    prevent it becoming creepingly (and creepily) more valid in the future.

    The case of inter_module_get deprecation and replacement with symbol_get
    embodies both sides: it makes a non-GPL export into a GPL export (yes, its
    now called by a different name, and the backend has changed, but the first
    change is cosmetic and the second change is internal), and it also prevents
    closed-source drivers from using functionality of a device that they have no
    choice but to connect through, and require for competetive performance.

    To sum up:
    1) Please make symbol_get a non-GPL export, so that those of us with hardware
    that needs it can continue to use it (eg anyone with an ATI video card that
    wants to use the shaders and extensions that are the point in favour over
    NVidia offerings)
    2) I think the use of GPL symbol exports should be more carefully monitored
    where it affects existing closed-source drivers and designed-in hardware
    functionality like AGP, to avoid alienating companies which have been polite
    enough to come half way and supported their hardware under this great OS.

    After all, I think we all want Linux to win by being the best - not by going
    around shouting "Thou shalt use the GPL, it ownz your propriatary
    distribution model and if you dont use it youre a moron and we wont let you
    use Linux" at passing strangers (not that this is likely to work anyway).


    PS - This was not meant to be a rant, start a flamewar or even tread on
    anyones toes, really.... I'm just a bit annoyed that I can't do my shader
    development while running a nice bleeding-edge kernel, and apprehensive of
    not being able to do my shader development in a few months/years when this
    kernel is officially OldHat (TM, Inc, or whatever)
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