Re: Ubuntu reaches out to embarrassed SuSE devs

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On Sun, 2006-11-26 at 12:53, Alan wrote:

> > So, if you really think that companies providing drivers that
> > make Linux usable are your enemies, let's see a lawsuit and
> > get the FUD over with.  But, you'll have to deal with people
> And you think a lawsuit would be in the interest of any involved party ?

Yes, the people implicated by the current FUD could just move
on to one of the *BSDs and build something usable instead
of wasting their time on a system that won't allow it.  Or
they would be assured that it does allow it, depending on the

> > who remember that Linus was widely quoted in early interviews
> > saying that the GPL did not cover code using the module interface.
> And every time the fact I said this didn't apply to my code. Linus has no
> power to grant rights to my code any more than he has to say Microsoft's.

That would be an interesting challenge.  Does the modification
that Linus added to the copyright have the same weight as
the GPL in applying to everything subsequently added?  I
don't see how it could be otherwise.  If the GPL can take
away your choice of subsequent copyright terms, a modified GPL
must be able to do the same.  So, to whatever extent the GPL
is valid, Linus can and did grant rights to any code distributed
in the work as a whole - which was defined not to include things
on the other side of the module interface but does include your
code.  Even if he changed his mind about the issue later, the
terms could only be changed if all copyright holders agreed.

> > My only concern in the matter is that I'd like to see a
> > real alternative to Microsoft develop, and it's just not
> > going to happen if you keep trying to drive away the people
> > who are doing the best they can to help.
> This I very much agree with. GPL Violations has enough to do going after
> people who are being plain abusive of the GPL and who don't have a leg to
> stand on without pursuing people whose drivers are deeply questionable
> but who are trying to do things in the interest of all parties while
> stuck with some very awkward problems.

I have no brand loyalty in the matter and would be equally
happy to see one of the *bsd's as the underlying OS - so
I see the whole concept of GPL violations as fairly
counterproductive to the process of offering more choices
as competition to Microsoft. As soon as Microsoft or some
puppet company makes a patent claim against the kernel it
will be Linux that is in violation anyway since the GPL offers
no way to include code under different terms - even to anyone
happy to meet the terms of the other licenses.

> For the current Nvidia situation putting the work into Nouveau and
> producing an open driver is far more productive than lawyers. Supporting
> people who are producing hardware with open drivers also makes a big
> difference.

That's a small part of the problem, though.  In this case no one
is making patent claims so there is hope to successfully reverse
engineer a solution at some expense in lagging behind other OS
versions.  There are things people need in an OS distribution
that are covered by existing patents and there is no chance to
compete without providing a legal way to easily obtain them.  I
was sort-of joking when I suggested a distribution that omitted
the kernel but on reflection it would just be going back to the
roots of free software where you always started with a licensed
proprietary OS and did not have to worry about subsequently
adding free software that linked to the system libraries or
whether it used binary device drivers due to the GPL exception
for components included as part of the OS distribution. It might
simplify things all the way around although it would need a
minimal unrestricted OS version capable of downloading and
installing the GPL'd components.

  Les Mikesell
   [email protected]

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