Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Nov 2017 11:50 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

Andrew S. Tanenbaum, creator of MINIX, has published an open letter to Intel regarding Intel's use of MINIX in the IME:

The only thing that would have been nice is that after the project had been finished and the chip deployed, that someone from Intel would have told me, just as a courtesy, that MINIX 3 was now probably the most widely used operating system in the world on x86 computers. That certainly wasn't required in any way, but I think it would have been polite to give me a heads up, that's all.

If nothing else, this bit of news reaffirms my view that the Berkeley license provides the maximum amount of freedom to potential users. If they want to publicize what they have done, fine. By all means, do so. If there are good reasons not to release the modified code, that's fine with me, too.

I can still barely believe this whole story.

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RE[2]: freedom
by Vanders on Tue 7th Nov 2017 14:08 UTC in reply to "RE: freedom"
Vanders
Member since:
2005-07-06

drivers are goods at exposing hardware designs, allowing competitiors to steal your trade secrets

This is a ridiculous argument and it remains ridiculous.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[3]: freedom
by The123king on Tue 7th Nov 2017 16:01 in reply to "RE[2]: freedom"
The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

+Companies producing open-source drivers would have to negotiate patents, 3rd party code, general code ownership (even when 1st party) and potential exposure of trade secrets. proprietary code negates these issues. Another issue is the cost of producing clean-room engineered drivers lacking patented code and ownership issues is quite expensive, relative to proprietary drivers. This is added cost for very little benefit when you take into account the limited market share of open-source operating systems. Hence, 1st party open source drivers are almost non-existent.

So can you provide a reasonable argument refuting my claims, or are you going to resort to "ZOMGZORS UR TALKING BOLLOCKS AND UR FACE IS UGLY AND U SMELL!!!"

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: freedom
by ssokolow on Tue 7th Nov 2017 16:07 in reply to "RE[3]: freedom"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

That kind of "doing the right thing would be a lot of work for little to no improvement for the big guy" argument isn't a very convincing one, since it can just as easily be used to defend decisions we now all agree were wrong.

For example, refusing to switch away from a slave-based economy in the southern United States.

Edited 2017-11-07 16:07 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[4]: freedom
by Alfman on Tue 7th Nov 2017 16:42 in reply to "RE[3]: freedom"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

The123king,

+Companies producing open-source drivers would have to negotiate patents, 3rd party code, general code ownership (even when 1st party) and potential exposure of trade secrets. proprietary code negates these issues. Another issue is the cost of producing clean-room engineered drivers lacking patented code and ownership issues is quite expensive, relative to proprietary drivers.


I'll grant you that that companies like Intel don't have much incentive to grant users additional rights or reveal trade secrets. However your point about patents is wrong. Intel can release the code for patented technology even while the patents are being enforced. In fact patents are supposed to encourage public disclosure by design. Intel is absolutely free to distribute the source code whether it's patented or not and patent restrictions would only apply to 3rd party alternatives (ie not Intel) who have not paid the royalties.

So can you provide a reasonable argument refuting my claims, or are you going to resort to "ZOMGZORS UR TALKING BOLLOCKS AND UR FACE IS UGLY AND U SMELL!!!"


Many developers like myself oppose patents because of some of the detrimental effects we feel they cause to the industry, but still, it isn't correct to invoke patents as a reason Intel cannot publish the code.

Edited 2017-11-07 16:43 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: freedom
by Vanders on Tue 7th Nov 2017 19:40 in reply to "RE[3]: freedom"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

If I'm a competitor and I want to discover how your Super Secret Driver works, get this: I can decompile & reverse engineer your driver.

Most hardware is so ridiculously simple at the driver interface anyway that me knowing which registers control a ring buffer is hardly going to clue me in to any trade secrets.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: freedom
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 8th Nov 2017 15:21 in reply to "RE[3]: freedom"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

to negotiate patents, 3rd party code, general code ownership (even when 1st party) and potential exposure of trade secrets.



patents
-- No. There is no requirement in GPL V2 ( the one that governs the linux kernel) that any patents are licensed to anyone using the code. This is one of the reasons why there is a GPL v3.

3rd party code
-- Fair. you could see the pain that Sun went through in open sourcing Java. There were a number of bits for audio and sound that were licensed from third parties that Sun didn't have permission to open source.

code ownership
-- no clue what you mean here. The original authors that have copyright, have copyright. That doesn't change when things are open sourced. See Mysql for example.

Trade secrets
-- No argument here. If you have trade secrets in code, and you open source the code in any FOSS license. Well, they aren't so secret anymore...

Another issue is the cost of producing clean-room engineered drivers lacking patented code and ownership issues is quite expensive, relative to proprietary drivers.


Are you referring to the effort it would take to remove third party code that you didn't have permission to open source? If so, then yes as Sun discovered, its difficult and expensive. But if you own all the code, this takes no effort, because its completely unnecessary.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: freedom
by tanishaj on Thu 9th Nov 2017 00:55 in reply to "RE[2]: freedom"
tanishaj Member since:
2010-12-22

This is a ridiculous argument and it remains ridiculous.


Any argument that assumes as a fact that closed source in a for-fee product is wrong is ridiculous.

Any Open Source license that allows code to be used in a Close Source product provides a freedom to the maker of that product. That freedom is a good thing.

If the provider of a product chooses to make the code for their product available to others, that is also a good thing.

It does not follow that providing a product that does not provide access to the source code is a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with it. The potential users are free to use or not use the software based on that attribute just as they are free to choose software based on a number of other factors.

There is no difference, ethically, between a company writing it's own software and keeping the source closed than there is in using an Open Source license and keeping it closed. Insisting it is, without citing compelling reasons, is a ridiculous argument that remains ridiculous.

Free Software ( a la GPL ) is a different beast in terms of obligations. Again, it is up to the original author how they want to interact with the world.

For most things, I prefer Open Source to Free Software.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: freedom
by ssokolow on Thu 9th Nov 2017 02:25 in reply to "RE[3]: freedom"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

I think you're misunderstanding the terms and are actually trying to draw a distinction between "permissive" and "copyleft" licenses.

(Permissive being BSD-like and copyleft being GPL-like)

If you actually look at their defining documents, there's not really much concrete difference between "Free Software" and "Open Source" aside from how one might try to language-lawyer their definitions.

The Free Software Definition doesn't require copyleft (in fact, they explicitly say that they consider non-copylefted free software to be ethical too.), nor do the Open Source Definition or the Debian Free Software Guidelines. (the DFSG being the third big document people turn to.)


All explicitly allow permissive licensing and the most noteworthy characteristics are:

1. The Free Software Definition uses the fewest bullet points, thanks to its "four freedoms" formulation.

2. The Open Souce Definition put the most effort into being apolitical, at the cost of more bullet points and a little more wiggle room to lawyer the letter of the definition for lack of as srong an underlying philosophy.

3. The Debian Free Software Guidelines communicate roughly the same thing as the Free Software Definition, but aim to be more explicit about things that the Free Software Definition trusted legal precedent on.

(And they paired it with a bunch of thought experiments to help answer questions about whether something is compliant. See "Q: How can I tell if a license is a free software license, by Debian's standards?" in the DFSG FAQ.)

Compare for yourself:

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.en
https://opensource.org/docs/osd
https://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines
https://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html

Edited 2017-11-09 02:29 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: freedom
by cb88 on Thu 9th Nov 2017 17:46 in reply to "RE[2]: freedom"
cb88 Member since:
2009-04-23

That is because it isn't a legitimate argument... its a cop out.

Reply Parent Score: 3