Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 1st Feb 2007 14:41 UTC, submitted by Oliver
FreeBSD "Linux has a large amount of device drivers for hardware not supported on FreeBSD, especially USB devices. Not rarely, such drivers have been written based on information derived by protocol sniffing, reverse engineering and the like. This makes the code highly undocumented, and renders the porting effort extremely error prone. To help with this task, I decided to start working on an emulation layer that would let us recompile the linux source code on FreeBSD, and provide a sufficiently complete emulation of the kernel APIs so that device drivers (or at least certain classes) could be used without modifications to their source code."
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RE: Miss-information
by tristan on Thu 1st Feb 2007 18:07 UTC in reply to "Miss-information"
tristan
Member since:
2006-02-01

Moulinneuf,

Speaking as someone who thinks that the GPL is a better deal than the BSD licence, I have to say that I have never read such ill-informed, ranting rubbish in all my life.

To think that you and I are supposedly batting for the same team is just embarrassing.

If the BSD projects want to use GPL code, be it drivers or graphical toolkits or whatever, then good luck to them. Sharing code is, after all, one of the fundamental things about the open-source idea. I fail to see how this harms Linux in any way -- it's not as if Apple could turn round and start including these GPL'd drivers in the next version of MacOS, is it?

There is no violation of the GPL here, and the FreeBSD people are doing exactly what they're permitted to do with the Linux kernel code. It's all right and all above board.

(Incidentally, this touches on one of the points that I don't really understand about the BSD community -- the idea that Linux "steals" their code. If you release something under the BSD licence, then you're saying anybody can use it for any purpose they like. It's a bit rich to then turn round and complain when a Linux developer does exactly that.)

Edited 2007-02-01 18:08

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Miss-information
by sean on Thu 1st Feb 2007 22:11 in reply to "RE: Miss-information"
sean Member since:
2005-06-29

(Incidentally, this touches on one of the points that I don't really understand about the BSD community -- the idea that Linux "steals" their code. If you release something under the BSD licence, then you're saying anybody can use it for any purpose they like. It's a bit rich to then turn round and complain when a Linux developer does exactly that.)

Here are my thoughts of why it possibly bothers people. People may disagree with them, but it does not stop how others may feel. There are probably other reasons this bothers other BSD-licensed project developers that I do not recall nor am aware.

The BSD license allows sharing to everyone regardless of what they do with it. If a branch of the source is closed, then that is in essence a dead branch to the original project. If the source is wrapped within the GPL, then it becomes a competitor to the original project based on the license instead of the direction.

Unless explicitly performed, the GPL-licensed project does not share back with the BSD-licensed project. It is all one-way. The reason this does not feel good to the people in the BSD-licensed project is that it feels like the GPL-licensed project is only there to replace them. Since both are open-source and need developers, they compete for developers from the same pool.

As for the closed-source project, it will either diverge away silently (at least to the open-source community), die or share source back with the original project just to make it easier to merge changes later back into their branch. Regardless of the direction, it will not be competing for open-source developers.

If the GPL-license branch had stayed BSD-licensed, then the only competition would have been on the features and/or lack of bugs between the two projects. It does not feel like you are competing against yourself plus others when you are able to incorporate source from the other project into yours. The reason this is not a bother with closed-source projects is that they rarely (if ever) kill off the open-source project even with an MIT, BSD or Apache license. OpenSSH and Apache are good examples. mod_ssl actually killed off the closed-source competitor of it.

The time--it really has been that long ago?--I recall about the BSD community complaining about the Linux community "stealing" was actually due to a copyright violation by a developer who ripped the copyrights of some header files in the FreeBSD source. Here http://slashdot.org/bsd/01/09/24/1432223.shtml is mention of it.

BUGS
I ramble a lot. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 4

v RE[3]: Miss-information
by Moulinneuf on Thu 1st Feb 2007 23:44 in reply to "RE[2]: Miss-information"
RE[2]: Miss-information
by molnarcs on Thu 1st Feb 2007 22:25 in reply to "RE: Miss-information"
molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

(Incidentally, this touches on one of the points that I don't really understand about the BSD community -- the idea that Linux "steals" their code. If you release something under the BSD licence, then you're saying anybody can use it for any purpose they like. It's a bit rich to then turn round and complain when a Linux developer does exactly that.)

Don't confuse some misguided fanboys with the bsd community at large. In my experience, the bsd folks are proud rather than annoyed when someone else uses their code, even if they don't contribute back. Just think about it: whom do you hear bitching about Apple using parts of FreeBSD? It's almost never bsd folks, but GPL zealots like Moulinneuf, who cannot respect other people's choices.

I too consider GPL a better choice btw - in fact, I think that's the single most important (and brilliant) invention of the Free Software Movement. But still, being a part of the BSD community I can see their points - or lack thereof: most of the developers I know (not personally, but from reading the bsd mailing lists) simply don't care about ideological issues. They don't want to care about these issues (for better or worse) - they just want to write code, and get it out there. BSD license is something that is simple and straightforward, and serves that purpose (well, mostly, PHK uses the beerware license, because he considers - tongue in cheek - the BSD license too complicated ;) )

There are also cases when the BSD license makes more sense: if you want something to become an industry standard, and it is a core technology, than BSD like licenses are a better choice. That's why XFree choose the similar MIT license (there were other competing proprietary alternatives at that time) - and that is why companies developing proprietary unices could easily adopt it (and hence, turning it into an industry standard) without having to consider the implications discussed here. Similarly, a BSD/MIT license makes sense for other core technologies like BIND for instance.

The purpose of Free Software is to guarantee certain rights to end users - and both the GPL and the BSD license does that, however, it is only the former that perpetuates these rights down the line of adopters (and I think that is an important goal). We are speaking of two free software projects here, and sharing code between them - and I just can't understand those people who make such a fuss about it. Its not like the BSD folks try to change the licensing of code originating from linux. GPL code will stay GPL, and according to the FSF, these are compatible licenses. QED

Reply Parent Score: 3

v RE[3]: Miss-information
by Moulinneuf on Thu 1st Feb 2007 23:40 in reply to "RE[2]: Miss-information"
v RE[2]: Miss-information
by Moulinneuf on Thu 1st Feb 2007 22:55 in reply to "RE: Miss-information"