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[News] Discussion About Rejecting Non-Free Drivers Heats Up

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Proprietary Firmware and the Pursuit of a Free Kernel

,----[ Quote ]
| Knowing when a GNU/Linux distribution is free used to be simple. If all its 
| software had licenses approved by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) or the 
| Open Source Initiative, then a distribution was free. Otherwise, it wasn't.  
| However, the release of the GNewSense distribution a few years ago has 
| complicated the situation, pitting idealists against pragmatists and sending 
| some distributions scrambling for a compromise that is unlikely to satisfy 
| anyone.    



Closed Linux driver problems described

,----[ Quote ]
| Why doesn't Linux aim to offer a stable kernel-level API? There has been
| debate about it in the past, but Welte explains that the current system has
| been kept so that "if there's a technical reason to change the ABI, we can do
| so."
| Welte concludes, "Please don't do binary only Linux drivers. You will put
| resources into a driver that in the end, almost no one will be able to use."


Kernel space: drivers that don't make the kernel scene

,----[ Quote ]
| Linux supports most hardware "out of the box" without adding a driver. Most
| of the missing drivers are proprietary, from uncooperative manufacturers, but
| there are a few where the license is right but the actual code is still
| missing. Why?


Linux Foundation points finger at Nvidia

,----[ Quote ]
| Though a statement issued Monday does not cite Nvidia by name, Linux
| Foundation Technical Advisory Board Chair James Bottomley cited Nvidia in a
| phone interview. "My intent is to point out the problems Nvidia has been
| causing themselves with their binary-only (drivers)," he said. "They are
| certainly one of the few companies sticking to a binary-only strategy."
| Binary-only means the drivers are essentially closed.


Position Statement on Linux Kernel Modules


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

,----[ Quote ]
| Nvidia reiterated that it won’t provide open source drivers for Linux because
| the company claims there is no need for it.
| Nvidia provides binary Linux drivers and has open sourced some drivers such
| as the nv X driver and other utilities that work with the proprietary driver,
| including the installer, config and settings.The company is a leading
| provider of graphics cards and software for the desktop and embraces a cross
| platform strategy.

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