Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Jun 2008 09:49 UTC
3D News, GL, DirectX Yesterday, we reported on the statement several kernel developers had signed that urged hardware manufacturers to open up their Linux modules and drivers. "We, the undersigned Linux kernel developers, consider any closed-source Linux kernel module or driver to be harmful and undesirable," the statement read. Nvidia, which delivers probably the most prominent closed-source Linux driver, has reiterated its position concerning this matter.
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Up to Them
by segedunum on Wed 25th Jun 2008 10:37 UTC
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That's entirely up to them. However, whilst nVidia's cards have generally been quite Linux friendly, and their drivers have been of a reasonable quality, if other vendors (like AMD) commit to open sourced drivers that can be shipped with distributions where you get good quality right from the install, those drivers can be debugged, patched and where people in desktops and other projects have a fighting chance of working out exactly where bugs are occurring, I can just see things getting difficult for nVidia. We had a few manufacturers create binary only modules for Linux in the past, and those are few and far between now because the development model always puts that kind of development at a disadvantage. Drivers are tested, debugged and shipped with the kernel and other software to maintain integrity.

The response means nothing. The 'intellectual property' argument is an oft used argument that doesn't stand up when you look at how many people are writing open source drivers now that have used the same argument in the past.

"NVIDIA doesn't expect Linux kernel developers to debug issues in NVIDIA's kernel module."

Then I'm afraid you don't understand the development model of the platform that you're writing drivers for. If people in the wider development world can't work out what's going on in your software, and you're not fixing bugs fast enough and you're introducing new ones at the same time, people will just sideline you and give your users no support. It's happened to many other types of driver before.

Linux is getting towards a tipping point where if a piece of hardware and its drivers didn't work properly on Linux the manufacturer just used to puts its hands up and tell us that Linux was the problem. Now if it doesn't work on Linux it's becoming more their problem.

Edited 2008-06-25 10:39 UTC

Reply Score: 6