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SubjectRe: Challenges with doing hardware bring up with Linux first
On Sun, Nov 21, 2010 at 10:44 PM, Ted Ts'o <> wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 21, 2010 at 08:31:24PM +0000, Alan Cox wrote:
>> Which we know in practice they won't. They'll sit on fixes (often
>> security fixes) and tweak and add private copies of features. In turn the
>> Linux one could then only keep up by adding features itself - which would
>> have to be GPL to stop the same abuse continuing.
>> It's a nice idea but the corporations exist to make money and adding
>> proprietary custom stack add-ons is clearly a good move on their part to
>> do that.
> Hence my recommendation that if someone is going to do the work to
> create a 802.11 layer that has shims that work on multiple operating
> systems, it be GPL with explicit exceptions to allow said layer to
> work on legacy operating systems like QNX, et. al.  That way it forces
> the hardware specific code to be released under the GPL --- if they
> want to take advantage of the "write onces, work on multiple operating
> systems" feature.
> If someone is going to go through all of this work to make it possible
> --- particularly if it's at a company such as Luis's employer, or any
> other wifi chipset provider --- why should it allow their competitors
> to do closed source drivers?  Better to structure the driver licensing
> such that (a) there is benefit for companies to make a Linux driver by
> using this common stack, and (b) but in exchange, it forces them to
> make a driver which is guaranteed to be usable by Linux by virtual of
> the fact that (1) the native interface is Linux's wireless stack, and
> (2) the license forces them to GPL their driver.

By forcing the driver to be GPL, you automatically exclude Windows
from the list of platforms supported by such a cross-OS driver, as the
Windows NDIS headers are AFAIK under a GPL-incompatible license, so no
GPL driver can be written for Windows.

>                                   - Ted
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