Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (244 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] After the Richard talk... what's new for openSUSE
On Sat, May 02, 2015 at 04:06:54AM +0200, Carlos E. R. wrote:
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On 2015-05-02 03:29, Michal Kubecek wrote:
On Sat, May 02, 2015 at 03:19:02AM +0200, Carlos E. R. wrote:

And then there are other proprietary blobs with no alternative at
all. The obvious case is virtualbox or vmware, but there are
more.

Not sure which modules you mean here. Both host and guest VMware
modules are provided with their source and this source is used to
build the modules if you don't have one of the kernels for which
pre-built modules are provided (I never had). Actually, some of
their modules that used to be out-of-tree have been merged into
mainline kernel (vsock, vmw_vmci).

Sometimes the kernel changes "too much" and the vmware module refuses
to build (during install of vmware, it builds things automatically).
With luck, some one publishes a patch that you have to apply manually,
and it works. Then someone writes a script. And, maybe six months
later, vmware publishes a new version that handles the kernel change
properly.

This has happened several times in the past. It even happens with
stable openSUSE releases, which is a reason to not install it till
after a few months...

IMHO this exactly shows why it's incorrect and unfair to call these
modules "proprietary blobs". When this (kernel API change affecting the
build) happens, I'm usually able to fix the module myself and, actually,
I almost never really have to as a patch is already on VMware forums.
Sure, most users can't do that themselves but the sources are available
and it's possible to fix the problem or find someone who does.

If the modules really were "proprietary blobs", I would have no other
choice than waiting for VMware to release a module, no matter what my
knowledge or coding skill are. Even worse, it would be the same even if
there were no API change, I would have to rely on the vendor whenever
ABI changes.

Michal Kubeček

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