Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 13th Aug 2006 08:25 UTC, submitted by binarycrusader
Intel The driver source code released for the Intel 965 Graphics chipset recently isn't as open as first thought. Keith Packard posted a reply on the linux-kernel mailing list detailing what parts were not available.
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by RandomGuy on Sun 13th Aug 2006 13:34 UTC
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I always wonder why so many guys mention patents as a reason for _not_ opensourcing.
On the contrary, patents were initially created so that you did not have to hide your inventions because you could now patent and thereby protect them.

One reason I see for not opensourcing stuff ist that they do NOT have patents on important parts of their technology. There are two possible reasons:
a) They use stuff patented by someone else.
b) They simply don't have the TIME to patent everything.

Think about it:
How long does it take to develop a new graphics chip?
At which point of the development process are you ready to file a patent?
How long does it take you to actually GET the patent?
How long does it take to develop a _stable_ driver?

And finally: What good is a driver that's two years late?

Reply Score: 3

RE: patents
by Get a Life on Sun 13th Aug 2006 13:56 in reply to "patents"
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There is also the limited utility of patented technology without licensing the use of the patented technology to others. You don't release the source code for such things because you do not intend to permit others to take the source code and infringe on your patents. You also don't want to create an arbitrarily-large number of violations of your patents for you to track down by releasing the source code in question for others to incorporate. While the idea of a patent is to disclose the details of the invention for the public, if you have ever read through patents you'd know that they can be pretty vague and of marginal use for implementing something, unless they cover inanely simple tasks.

There is also the matter of other people's patents and copyrighted material, and all sorts of other licensing details between organizations over intellectual property.

There is also the possibility of making it easy for people to jump out of the woodwork and claim patent infringement. You may be quite unaware of patented methods that are in use in the more esoteric portions of your software, and you do not want to deal with the expense of any inconvenience surrounding it since you are not necessarily obtaining much value from releasing the source code.

Companies whose principle basis is intellectual property are not in the habit of giving such property away. They have no particular overriding reason to do so as part of their business philosophy. When approaching issues of this sort one shouldn't approach it from "Why isn't Intel giving me everything?" it should be "Why is Intel giving me anything? Really, why? They surely don't care about my personal ideology or that I want to run 3D-accelerated FreeBSD on my home computer."

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: patents
by SpasmaticSeacow on Mon 14th Aug 2006 17:06 in reply to "patents"
SpasmaticSeacow Member since:

There has long been speculation that the graphics adapter industry has for years been, shall we say, lax in honoring the patents of other industries and each other. That is to say, most vendors have substantial bits of their products that they either believe to be infringing on a patent, or at the very least questionable to the point that it would draw and expensive suit that would prevent them doom them to financial ruin (whether it's infringing or not).

As a result, they provide as little information as possible regarding the workings of their hardware.

It's not very likely that, with the patent system as it is today, that these firms will ever feel that their products are completely free-and-clear of issues.

It should be interesting to see if the Open Graphics guys ever get anywhere. I don't think the industry takes them seriously, but they should. There's a subtext of liability that should be keenly aware of with regard to the video hardware being shipped with many OEM systems these days.

Reply Parent Score: 2