OT: Re: [linux-audio-dev] very nice looking HW -- somewhat off topic

Stephen Cameron smcameron at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 8 01:50:37 UTC 2006

> Another important question, are they willing to comply with the GPL?
> Many companies seem to believe it's legal to develop a closed source
> driver for Linux...
> Lee

Is it not legal?  

I know the license for the linux kernel provides (last time I looked) an
exception -- the intent of which was to allow porting of existing
drivers/filesystems, etc, from other unices to linux -- which would
clearly not be derived works.  And there are the GPL_ONLY symbols and
such... sort of implying the symbols which are not GPL_ONLY are
fair game for binary-only drivers.  And there are some binary-only
storage drivers I know of -- cheap SATA software RAID and such usually --
I seem to recall the video guys are perhaps the worst offenders
in terms of pushing binary-only drivefs, I guess that's still true.

Just saying, judging by the current state of affairs -- loads of existing
and current binary-only drivers for linux floating around for brand new
hardware unhampered by litigation -- if it's not legal, it might as well
be.  Without saying too much, I have some interest in this beyond just
conversation.  To clarify my position, I do think binary-only drivers suck,
and I would be the first to advise people not to buy, e.g. esp. storage
solutions which rely on binary-only HBA drivers, and I advocate so much
as I am able within the company which employs me to avoid such things.
But to say they are not legal is pretty strong, in view of the extant 
binary-only drivers floating around.  If they really are illegal, then 
I'd want to know that.  If it is so, it seems not to be enforced at all.

Oh, yeah, IANAL, of course, and consequently I stupidly attempt to apply
rational thinking to licenses and such.  Programmers and lawyers mixed
together is a recipe for insanity.

-- steve

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 

More information about the Linux-audio-dev mailing list