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Thread: Kernel Developers Say No To Binary Blobs

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoshi314 View Post
    ah, but of couse. that's totally irrelevant. but the pc is also a device, isn't it?

    think for a moment about custom open-source firmware for routers (esp linksys wrt54gl series). do you still think it's irrelevant if the firmware remains a blob, or is it better to provide an open firmware, which often provides more features than standard stock blob?
    I have it (DDWRT)

    Quote Originally Posted by yoshi314 View Post
    some modems/tuners/wi-fi cards require firmware, that you have to forcefully extract from windows drivers in order to obtain it.what if that would mean violating the software licence? (actually it might be this way already, as most driver licenses prohibit you from messing with the files).
    AFAIK, they prohibit redistribution(unless some sort of agreement it made (think laptops)), and modification+redistribution

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoshi314 View Post
    some modems/tuners/wi-fi cards require firmware, that you have to forcefully extract from windows drivers in order to obtain it.what if that would mean violating the software licence? (actually it might be this way already, as most driver licenses prohibit you from messing with the files).
    Really dependent on the company, ralink for example is one company that has proprietary firmware that is freely available for their wlan cards.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by some-guy View Post
    AFAIK, Linus says closed development is OK, but open-development is much better. I don't think he a FOSS fanatic (like the rest of us humans )

    Linus has reponded in the past on the issue;

    On Wed, 13 Dec 2006, Greg KH wrote:
    >
    > Numerous kernel developers feel that loading non-GPL drivers into the
    > kernel violates the license of the kernel and their copyright. Because
    > of this, a one year notice for everyone to address any non-GPL
    > compatible modules has been set.

    Btw, I really think this is shortsighted.

    It will only result in _exactly_ the crap we were just trying to avoid,
    namely stupid "shell game" drivers that don't actually help anything at
    all, and move code into user space instead.

    What was the point again?

    Was the point to alienate people by showing how we're less about the
    technology than about licenses?

    Was the point to show that we think we can extend our reach past derived
    work boundaries by just saying so?

    The silly thing is, the people who tend to push most for this are the
    exact SAME people who say that the RIAA etc should not be able to tell
    people what to do with the music copyrights that they own, and that the
    DMCA is bad because it puts technical limits over the rights expressly
    granted by copyright law.

    Doesn't anybody else see that as being hypocritical?

    So it's ok when we do it, but bad when other people do it? Somehow I'm not
    surprised, but I still think it's sad how you guys are showing a marked
    two-facedness about this.

    The fact is, the reason I don't think we should force the issue is very
    simple: copyright law is simply _better_off_ when you honor the admittedly
    gray issue of "derived work". It's gray. It's not black-and-white. But
    being gray is _good_. Putting artificial black-and-white technical
    counter-measures is actually bad. It's bad when the RIAA does it, it's bad
    when anybody else does it.

    If a module arguably isn't a derived work, we simply shouldn't try to say
    that its authors have to conform to our worldview.

    We should make decisions on TECHNICAL MERIT. And this one is clearly being
    pushed on anything but.

    I happen to believe that there shouldn't be technical measures that keep
    me from watching my DVD or listening to my music on whatever device I damn
    well please. Fair use, man. But it should go the other way too: we should
    not try to assert _our_ copyright rules on other peoples code that wasn't
    derived from ours, or assert _our_ technical measures that keep people
    from combining things their way.

    If people take our code, they'd better behave according to our rules. But
    we shouldn't have to behave according to the RIAA rules just because we
    _listen_ to their music. Similarly, nobody should be forced to behave
    according to our rules just because they _use_ our system.

    There's a big difference between "copy" and "use". It's exatcly the same
    issue whether it's music or code. You can't re-distribute other peoples
    music (becuase it's _their_ copyright), but they shouldn't put limits on
    how you personally _use_ it (because it's _your_ life).

    Same goes for code. Copyright is about _distribution_, not about use. We
    shouldn't limit how people use the code.

    Oh, well. I realize nobody is likely going to listen to me, and everybody
    has their opinion set in stone.

    That said, I'm going to suggest that you people talk to your COMPANY
    LAWYERS on this, and I'm personally not going to merge that particular
    code unless you can convince the people you work for to merge it first.

    In other words, you guys know my stance. I'll not fight the combined
    opinion of other kernel developers, but I sure as hell won't be the first
    to merge this, and I sure as hell won't have _my_ tree be the one that
    causes this to happen.

    So go get it merged in the Ubuntu, (Open)SuSE and RHEL and Fedora trees
    first. This is not something where we use my tree as a way to get it to
    other trees. This is something where the push had better come from the
    other direction.

    Because I think it's stupid. So use somebody else than me to push your
    political agendas, please.

    Linus
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  4. #14
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    Sorry to Linus Torvalds, but I don't agree with him at all. I really don't care if the wants binary blobs in kernel to exist, I don't like them at all and always try to avoid them when possible. I think Linus' opinion here is totally irrelevant for centering the discussion on it, I think we should talk about the main topic instead.

    I think a list like that solves nothing, they must be a lot more aggressive.

    I said in the other post about making a campaign with their own website and find groups and involved individuals (that is, FLOSS developers) that agree with the cause.

    They don't need to be Linux-only, they can be from other FLOSS Operating Systems too.

    So what the involved part against the binary blobs think? Are there some website for this campaign?

  5. #15
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    wow, this is the short-sightedness he was talking about.

    Linux has the final say of whether some thing goes in or not, Linux is Linus's Minix, his opinion is highly important.

    Though I don't believe binary blobs should be in the kernel, I also am not extreme on it

  6. #16
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    "short-sightedness" is not an argument itself. Please argument more.

    His opinion is important, but Linux kernel work is done by _A LOT_ of individuals.

    The opinion of a lot of devs is _A LOT_ more important than the opinion of Linus itself, he is free to do whatever but he isn't the only copyright owner of the source code and there are lots of very imporant developers than him.

    Of course we have seen the BSD project splitted into different flavors because certain differences and that may happen someday in the Linux world if differences between parts go bigger. As I see the BSD world, I think this could be quite negative for the Linux kernel.

    Ignoring the issue will not solve it or make it less important, in the long term this is the worst decission ever.

  7. #17
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    Well, great. Just keep the closed-source drivers functioning properly.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by timofonic View Post
    "short-sightedness" is not an argument itself. Please argument more.

    His opinion is important, but Linux kernel work is done by _A LOT_ of individuals.

    The opinion of a lot of devs is _A LOT_ more important than the opinion of Linus itself, he is free to do whatever but he isn't the only copyright owner of the source code and there are lots of very imporant developers than him.

    Of course we have seen the BSD project splitted into different flavors because certain differences and that may happen someday in the Linux world if differences between parts go bigger. As I see the BSD world, I think this could be quite negative for the Linux kernel.

    Ignoring the issue will not solve it or make it less important, in the long term this is the worst decission ever.
    I completely disagree, trying to force anyone into releasing any individuals IP to be open, is just as evil as forcing a individuals IP to be closed. The true freedom is being able to pick and choose the best solution for your property. Linus is a realist, he knows that you are never going to be able to get 100% agreement from both sides and he repects the individuals right to keep their IP private if wanted to do so, it's their right. Siding with either side 100% simply means you put that degree of separation even further apart hurting compatibilty and flexibilty rather then improving it.

    All those individuals that gripe about it and think that their way is the only way have the freedom to do something else, leave. Nobody is holding a knife to their throat. Linus is the project founder and leader and he has final say. Thank God his opinions are heavily seated in reality instead of 'utopian' dreams.

    Every successful endevour is full of comprimises of varying degrees.

  9. #19
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    The hubris!

    NVidia says no to request to release open source drivers, once again

    If distros like Ubuntu/OpenSuse/Fedora had backbone, they'd plaster warnings to users with NVIDIA hardware urging them to boycott this unscrupulous company. Educating Linux users to spend money to FOSS-friendly manufacturers like AMD/ATI is the only way to make a meaningful statement and vote with their wallet.

  10. #20
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    Doesn't anybody else see that as being hypocritical?
    *Raises Hand*

    There are far too many people in the Linux community pushing their own ideals and agends to the detriment of personal choice and freedom for everybody else.

    I do not need my Linux distributions to educate me.

    I do not need my Linux distribution to be my conscience.

    I have the right to spend my money on closed, proprietary hardware and software.

    I have the right not to be harassed or disriminated against because of my personal choices.

    Take away my right to buy and run closed source drivers and software and you are no better than individuals, corporations and governments which would seek to force upon me their ideals, their principles and their agendas against my will. Kernel contributors who cannot abide closed source drivers should begin a new and seperate kernel with a license which instead properly allows them to restrict the freedoms of their users as they see fit.
    Last edited by immudium; 06-24-2008 at 01:17 AM.

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