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Thread: Non-GPL Kernel Module Ban Starting Next Month?

  1. #1

    Default Non-GPL Kernel Module Ban Starting Next Month?

    > So let's come out and ban binary modules, rather than pussyfooting
    > around, if that's what we actually want to do.

    Give people 12 months warning (time to work out what they're going to do,
    talk with the legal dept, etc) then make the kernel load only GPL-tagged
    modules.

    I think I'd favour that. It would aid those people who are trying to
    obtain device specs, and who are persuading organisations to GPL their drivers.

    (Whereas the patch which is proposed in this thread hinders those people)
    Quote Originally Posted by Linus
    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
    http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux....4/focus=475824

    http://www.kroah.com/log/2006/12/13/#2006_12_13

    The patch likely won't make it in, but it certainly would be very interesting if it did.

  2. #2
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    It's a pity Mr. Torvalds still sticks to this immature "I'm no politican"-mentality. I could not wait for that to happen - getting rid of all this proprietary crap from nvidia, amd/ati, avm and the likes all at once.

  3. #3
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    I have to think that having some sort of pressure from the GNU/Linux community on companies to offer GPL'd drivers can only be a good thing. It's not like we are going to stop using Linux, and I really think that Linux is too big of a force for a company like ATI or Nvidia to just stop providing drivers at all. If one even thought about that idea, the other would get a vast majority of Linux user's money. Now sound cards are another situation... there is no competition there so Creative can do whatever it pleases (and does... no Linux drivers for their latest cards yet). Competition makes the video card makers stay in line, and because of that I think it's only a matter of time before one starts providing open source driver... the other company will soon have to follow suit when it happens.

    With the way things are going open source drivers will happen, and sooner than later. I can see how if the kernel developers forced this subject it could hurt Linux in some way but with an immediate payoff in some areas (like video card drivers more likely). If it stays like it currently is however, then the community still wins overall... just more slowly.

  4. #4

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    I don't understand any benefits over banning modules. Technically, they would be disallowing the person... to load whatever they want in the kernel. One reason I use Linux is because it's incredibly customizable. I can do whatever I want with it. If something like this came into play, it would be a huge burn.

    "If it stays like it currently is however, then the community still wins overall... just more slowly."

    That's a good point though :-\

  5. #5
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    If this happens, there will be a commercial linux kernel fork. The fact of the matter is that without the ati and nvidia drivers, linux would only be good for servers and linux is finally making strides into the desktop market. With Vista now out and soon to be available to the general public, desktop linux as an alternative is very important.

    I see this as the exact same as drm. DRM hasn't really hurt windows but this module stance will hurt linux.

    I can't see Ubuntu kernel devs wanting this as they are including nvidia and ati drivers in their next release. I also can't see Novell wanting this. The only big name that would even consider this would be Redhat but it would be a very foolish move.

    All the hardware we run on is proprietary and copyright. For the sake of usability, they should allow the grey area to remain grey as Linus says.

    The open source video card project is still pretty much in its infancy and if you want a reference board they are like $1000 and will provide performance like a radeon 9600 or somewhere therabouts.

    I respect the kernel devs and their work as I have been enjoying running linux since '97 but limiting the enduser on what they can run and how they can use it is exactly like windows which most people are trying to escape.

    The BSD variants just might get some linux converts and hopefully ati and nvidia continue to provide drivers for the BSD's.

    PCBSD is starting to look like a possible alternative.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fragadelic View Post
    The fact of the matter is that without the ati and nvidia drivers, linux would only be good for servers and linux is finally making strides into the desktop market.
    That's what I am thinking about also. I have never had success with the proprietary driver in the kernel, and 3D is actually becoming more popular with games and environments like Beryl.

    It's hard enough to get friends to try out Linux as is... I'd hate to see it if they banned GPU drivers. It would be hard for me to continue using it, let alone try to con a friend into giving it a go.

  7. #7
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    If that happens, I will have to jump ship too. I like to play 3D graphics intensive games so the open source ones that only work on older hardware for ATI are kind of limiting and there is no nvidia equivalent to date. Without the proprietary information from the hardware vendors, the open source counterparts will never be able to fully take advantage of utilize the featureset of the decent cards.

    It will be a sad day in Linux land for sure.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fragadelic View Post
    If that happens, I will have to jump ship too. I like to play 3D graphics intensive games so the open source ones that only work on older hardware for ATI are kind of limiting and there is no nvidia equivalent to date. Without the proprietary information from the hardware vendors, the open source counterparts will never be able to fully take advantage of utilize the featureset of the decent cards.

    It will be a sad day in Linux land for sure.
    Actually the X800 series work fine with the open-source R300 drivers, but too bad no X1000 open-source support at this time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Actually the X800 series work fine with the open-source R300 drivers, but too bad no X1000 open-source support at this time.

    Does that include the x700pro as well?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fragadelic View Post
    Does that include the x700pro as well?
    Yes, the X700PRO should work with the Open-source radeon driver.

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