Re: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers

From: Nick Piggin
Date: Tue Feb 20 2007 - 05:54:43 EST

v j wrote:

Now the popularity of Linux is exploding in the embedded space. Nobody
talks of VxWorks and OSE anymore. It is all Linux. Perhaps it would be
a worthwhile experiment to study this surge in popularity. I am not an
expert, but perhaps the reason is "it works so goddamn well and has a
wealth of third party FREE software". Sure its a bit of work to make
it work on our platform and we don't have to Enea or Windriver to
write our gripes to. But it definitely is worth it.

And do you think it works well because of all those companies that
don't contribute anything back? For that matter, do they do a single
thing to help anyone or anything to do with Linux except themselves?

Now it would also be worthwhile to contemplate what EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL
does to this popularity. I don't know. I am just giving you my
opinion. The moment companies learn of something like this, alarm
bells start to go off. This is not rational. I personally have nothing
against open-sourcing all software. *But*, this is not how companies

Opinions or motivations, or the people working for companies don't really
have any relevance at all. What matters is their actions.

You would think that those people who think their IP is so priceless that
it can't be opened would respect the rights of others. Sadly that doesn't
appear to be the case.

Let's think about why Linux became so popular and strive towards
keeping it that way instead of resorting to innovative ways of just
confusing a lot of people.

Linux has become popular _in spite_ of parasites, rather than because of
them. The main reason for its popularity is its quality. And a big reason
for its quality is the GPL.

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