Re: Open letter to Linux kernel developers (was Re: Binary Drivers)

From: Valdis . Kletnieks
Date: Sun Dec 24 2006 - 01:49:12 EST

On Fri, 22 Dec 2006 12:59:21 +0100, Erik Mouw said:
> On Thu, Dec 21, 2006 at 01:16:15PM -0500, Valdis.Kletnieks@xxxxxx wrote:
> > At least nVidia *does* actually Get It, they just don't have a choice in
> > implementing it, because all their current hardware includes patents that
> > they licensed from other companies (I believe some of the OpenGL stuff that
> > originated at SGI and got bought by Microsoft is involved, but I have no
> > hard references for actual patent numbers). And then they have the big
> > problem - do they keep using the patent in order to boost performance,
> > or no?
> Wasn't the whole idea about patents that you publish your invention?

(Argh - I was too busy coming down with the flu to carefully read what I
wrote, and as a result I was a tad less that totally specific and accurate.
Hopefully I get it closer to right this time. ;)

Patent licenses are also a good place to hang all sorts of side agreements on -
and I'm pretty sure that the *actual* intellectual property involved is a
witches' brew of patents, copyrights, and trade secrets, all wrapped up with a
nice "thou shalt not disclose *any* of it" wrapper.

In any case, there isn't much that *any* company can do to open-source
something when they've got any sort of legally binding NDA attached to
3rd-party intellectual property. At best, they can design an entirely
new product that totally avoids the IP in question - but as I noted last
time, the company *does* have to do a sanity check when 90% of the market
doesn't care in the slightest.

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