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

From: Trent Waddington
Date: Sun Dec 31 2006 - 08:03:46 EST

> 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

What makes you think they "get it"?

In a recent interview
the nvidia developer had this to say:

"Quite honestly we have a lot of ip sorrounding both our hardware and
our software. And so the driver we provide is binary only, ya know, to
protect that intellectual property. You know, I guess, on a software
side, so much of what we do, err, of the code that comprises that
drivers is common and leveraged across all the operating systems and I
think that is a big benefit. You know we are able to accomplish a lot
with a fairly small, err, unix specific engineering team because we're
able to leverage so much common code. Ya know, that really is a big
win for us and our users, and so, ya know, we provide a binary only
driver to protect that ip. Umm, that said, we do try to, ya know,
provide source for, err, ya know, for things when it makes sense and
its possible to do so. I guess for our various unix graphics drivers,
the interface between *cough* excuse me, the core of the binary, err
the core of the kernel module is operating system neutral .. is
shipped binary only but anything that, ya know, interacts directly
with, with unix kernel, be it linux or freebsd or whatever, we provide
the source code to that interface layer. Similarly, err, I guess, up
in user space, umm, you know, we were talking either about, umm, the
nvida X extension and our control panel nvidia-settings. The source
code for that is provided as GPL. We provide a command line tool
nvidia-xconfig for manipulating your xconfiguration files. We provide
that as GPL. So we do try to provide source code to those sorts of
utilities and things like that when it makes sense. Umm, but the core
of our driver, we only provide as binary."

Yeah, really sounds like he "gets it".

Why don't you release source? To protect the intellectual property.
Well, duh! That's why everyone holds back source. So allow me to

Why don't you release source? Because we don't believe in freedom, we
don't "get it" and we don't want you to have it.

That wasn't some marketting stooge they were interviewing either, it
was two of the guys who work on the unix porting team for the nvidia

They don't get it.

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