Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (4219 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] SCO is toast... Novell go get em
  • From: "Andre Truter" <andre.truter@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 22:33:31 +0200
  • Message-id: <173f0b9f0611301233l565923d7w1f989ee0fc658ae2@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On 11/30/06, M Harris <harrismh777@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Thursday 30 November 2006 13:07, Andre Truter wrote:
> I don't follow. What hooks might MS have in the kernel and how would
> that get in the kernel in the first place?
Please be patient with me on this because I'm making it up as I go along...
but how about this hypothetical scenario:

Suse gets (permission) to install proprietary drivers (using existing kernel
hooks) which provide genuine *interoperability* at the cost of degraded
performance. In other words compatible kernel modules could conceivably be
introduced (not Linus sanctioned) into the distro (I can change the kernel if
I want to, for crying out loud) that may or may not provide *interoperable*
functionality, but would provide deliberate performance degradation. [ this
might have been done on exiting platforms in the past in order to slow down
say, Netscape ]

You are talkin here about a 3rd party kernel module, like for instance
the NVidia or ATI drivers.
I can write a kernel module that does nothing productive, all it does
is it writes a 1 into a file every time the system clock reaches a
primary number.
But my module (or NVidia's or ATI's) does nothing to the kernel
itself, it is not part of the kernel and will never become part of the
kernel, so it cannot affect the kernel at all.
I cannot gain any form of control over the kernel or it's design or
it's future by distributing my module, because it is not part of the

Even if the kernel developers think that my module is very cool and
they accept it as an official kernel module that will be distributed
with the kernel, then I still have not control over the kernel or any
other module. I will have to GPL my module and it will be under the
scrutiny of the other kernel developers and if I suddenly decide to
change my module to write "MS Rulez" in the file instead of the 1,
then my module will most probably be kicked out of the list of
supported kernel modules and I would still not have gained anything.

Yes, it would be detected, and some folks might even be sharp enough to patch
it and publish their findings, but the damage would be done. If the damage
were subtle enough, it might not even be suspected immediately. But even if
it is suspected, it would take time and money to search, remove, and/or
remedy the damage.

You would have to write a REALLY, REALLY good module that will affect
kernel performance (or any performance or negative effect) so that it
will be noticed by users and not by the kernel testers.
If anything has an affect to such an extent that it would do damage
that users will notice, then the kernel developers and testers will
have to be totally blind to oversee it before it is accepted as a
This situation is just not very practical. I think we have a better
chance of being hit by an egg that was thrown on one of the planets in
the Alpha Centauri system that managed to escape the gravity and

I agree that no distro company would be foolish enough to fork their own
kernel version... but its not inconceivable. I want a promise from Novell
that the kernel will be controlled by the community outside of the Novell
corporate environment... and not under the monetary control of M$.

How can it ever be controlled by MS, or even Novell. No corporation
controls the kernel, only the kernel team controls it. Novell can go
totally nuts and employ Steve Ballmer as thier new head of kernel
development and it would still not make a difference, because the only
way that those contributions would be accepted into the kernel is if
aliens brainwashed Linus Torvalds and took over his body and got
bought out my MS.

This whole idea is inconceivable...

Andre Truter | Software Consultant | Registered Linux user #185282
Jabber: andre.truter@xxxxxxxxx |

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