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    SubjectRe: Binary Drivers
    On 12/26/06, David Schwartz <> wrote:
    > It's really common sense. Imagine if you buy the right to use my car, but I
    > don't give you the key. Can I say, "yes, you have the right to use my car,
    > you bought that, but that doesn't mean I have to tell you how to use my
    > car."

    I have to agree with Martin, that the car analogies really bear little
    relationship with the question of closed-source drivers...

    My point was that you buy what you buy, under the terms that you agree
    to. For a house, or a car, the "normal" terms would include any
    associated accessories, including keys. Keys also have a certain
    common-law "specialness", because they historically corresponded to
    the right to access. If you were buying a house or car and the seller
    was retaining keys (perhaps because they have some historical or
    personal significance), that would have to be disclosed and it would
    have to be clear that no rights were associated with the retained

    > ... Skipping the rest of the house/car analogies...

    > When you buy a video car, you are *not* buying the right to use that video
    > card with Windows. You are buying all the rights to the video card, to use
    > it any way you please. The manufacturer has no right (because it sold that
    > right when it sold the video card) to interfere or obstruct your right to
    > use it as you please.

    There is a notion of "fitness for purpose" that sometimes applies - if
    the seller describes the object as fit for a particular purpose, then
    the seller has an obligation to make sure the object is, in fact, fit
    for that purpose. However, that's a very limited requirement - it's
    not required to be fit for any other purpose and being fit for that
    purpose would not require documentation unless that purpose normally
    required it. Note that selling a card as suitable for use with Windows
    would not suggest, in any way, that it was offered as suitable for use
    with Linux. Again, you buy the right to do anything you like with the
    object, but the seller has no obligation beyond the agreed terms.

    > If you retain some rights over something, then you are not selling it in the
    > normal sense. You are selling a subset of the rights to it, and the buy must
    > be told what rights he is getting and what rights he is not getting.

    Again, while some of the car/house analogies may describe situations
    where the seller has not conveyed all the rights, the video card
    situation is completely different. You have the right to do what you
    like with it and the seller retains no rights. Lack of documentation
    is not an imposition on your rights, unless you had a specific promise
    of documentation from the seller.

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