Re: If loadable modules are covered by Linux GPL?

From: Elmer Joandi (
Date: Wed Aug 30 2000 - 01:21:10 EST

Mike Coleman wrote:

> Microsoft is about taking control
> away from users and giving it to vendors, and the GPL is, to a degree, the
> reverse.

True, but for very specific stuff there is no good to go to edges with that.

Very much better solution would be if company defines a good generic
interface for devices of such-and-such type, commits it to GPL and
then uses binary modules.
If drivers could run outside ring 0, it would be enev nicer.

Hiding driver source back is most part useless. I have here hacked "lotsa of
legally, "for compatiblity purposes", as the law says.

Of course, one side of it was that I hurt companies bussiness. Any move has its
positive and negative consequences.
The other side was, that they remained in profits, as I
1. discovered a lots of bugs in it(hw, firmware), including several DoS.
2. put it to run 50% faster
3. made solution more cost-effective.

Most importantly:
4. created trust - GPL plays against vendors and for public, but vendors
    who go with it, gain trust by public that vendor probably will not
    play against public in future.
Lots of people have used to choose hardware if it has linux drivers.
Not because they would need it right away, but because openess generates
trust - about that in next driver version some feature will not be turned
off for M$ platform, just for to enforce public to buy additional 15$
pseudo-module and have lots of PiA(pain in *ss) with it.

Finally, hiding software interfaces because there is money invested in it
is usually result of incompetent bussiness people who understand only
movement of dollars.
For hardware piece there should be most of difference in hardware...
And if software does not make much difference then is no point in hiding it
as it can be used only with that hardware.

They question to ask yourself: is the loss for gain for competitors from your
higher than gain from being open source, first, fast and trusted by public ?


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