Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (2831 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] The state of openSUSE
  • From: Rajko M <rmatov101@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2006 06:41:44 -0500
  • Message-id: <44CC9AF8.9080101@xxxxxxxxxxx>
jdd wrote:
> Pascal Bleser a écrit :
>> Well.. sure, but... I think the main reason for that decision is
>> probably the fact that binary-only kernel drivers are *illegal* as they
>> break the GPL.
> as they where included for years, the question is why now :-)
>>> _Any_ application (including the Kernel) is in fact owned by his
>>> developpers. Anybody can fork and make a new Kernel branch (can they?)
>> Totally not, unless you are referring to the GPL *only*.
> I don't mean "legally" owned, but practically owned. If most of the
> kernel guys where resigning just now, it would be nearly impossible to
> continue they work
>> It hasn't been difficult. Some kernel devs have been very vocal and
>> radical about it.. dare I say "religious", to say the least.
> again, why not before?
>> I just find most of them lack soft skills and communication is certainly
>> not their strength. It could have been better prepared as well.
> general problem. best programmers are not (and how could they be?) best
> communication experts (and vice versa)
> jdd

The primary problem is that some vendors want to claim that they have
Linux drivers, because that will bring more buyers, and they actually don't.

The legal actions around are just the way to tell vendors that open
source doesn't mean that they can play with the name kernel, brake it in
million ways and than simple shift blame to kernel developers, damaging
their reputation.

The GPL is designed to protect original developers professional honor
and right to be named as author (authorship) in many ways.

The kernel is developing that means changing.
Device drivers included as kernel modules must be adapted to compile
with new kernel. They can't be in binary form, as you have to drop them
out of new version of kernel, or stop kernel development until new
version of driver is written and compiled by device vendor.

Solution 1:
Company gives a source under GPL.
Kernel developers maintain drivers for free.
That is how it works for many device drivers.

Solution 2:
Company gives source under other license or agreement.
Kernel developers can accept only GPL.

They have no money to hire lawyers to analyze proprietary licenses and
other agreements, including famous nondisclosure agreements. The Free
Software Foundation (FSF) legal team advice is to use GPL. They will
cover GPL protection for free.

Why they should analyze legal agreements? (Just click and accept:-) )

The agreements are legal bindings that will be enforced by legal
authorities if one side intentionally or by mistake breaks it and get
sued. To analyze all potential scenarios where kernel developers have to
pay damages is job for legal experts (lawyers) and it needs much more
time and space than one mail. Even attempt to analyze one single
agreement will produce a lot more paper to describe what is allowed and
what not by that agreement.

Solution 3:
Company writes device driver that will be controlled by kernel as any
other program, that is called user space device driver.

This solution means lesser maintenance for driver as it will work with
different kernel versions, but it is all vendors responsibility to find
and remove errors (bugs) if it doesn't work.


The whole hype is produced by vendors that don't want to accept
solutions 1 or 3, and still want to claim that they have Linux driver,
that will bring some 3% more potential buyers. The hype is helped by
naive users not realizing that playing with proprietary based agreements
can take open source development model down, and in short time their
nice, free Linux will seize to exist.

Novell see the future with open source development model. They will not
cut a branch they are sitting on, just to help few unfortunate computer
users that were mislead by dishonest vendors.

ATI and nVidia are examples how it can be done, if company really wants
to sell their products to Linux users.


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