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Re: Possibly offtopic : Binary only driver

On Sun, November 21, 2004 3:21 pm, Mike Hearn said:

> They won't. Why should they? Availability of source code is useful
> primarily to those who can read and write programs. That's not the
> majority of the worlds population.

You're wrong here.   The availability of the source code directly benefits
users even if they themselves can not program.   The breadth of developers
who work on the code and the freedom to hire someone to work on the code
is just one whopping benefit of open source to everyone.

> They could support kernels with binary only modules. Other OS vendors do
> it. Other open source projects do it. They choose not to however.

It's because they understand and respect open source.   They understand
that it is a reciprocal relationship and that you only get help from the
kernel community if you give back to the community.

> Good question! I thought it was because the kernel developers wanted to
> make a kernel useful for desktop systems, but if that isn't the case then
> I guess I have no arguments left: this whole thing revolves around wanting
> the kernel to be easier to use and therefore more useful than it currently
> is.

Perhaps you don't respect open-source or understand the motivation of
those who contribute, but there is no reason they should feel compelled to
help those that don't want to play by the open-source rules.

Open source has created useful desktop systems already and they're getting
better all the time.   Those companies that don't want to participate are
free to go use other operating systems.   Why would we want them involved
with Linux anyway?


> Anyway, this is all a pointless discussion. This is not me saying
> "binary modules are good", I never claimed that, I'm saying they're
> unavoidable and should be supported.

There's no reason to think they're unavoidable.  We just need to support
and promote open-source alternatives.   There is no reason to think we
should support companies that don't want to contribute back to the

> I'm 99% convinced though that kernel policy will never change, no
> matter how many people ask for it and no matter what their arguments
> are.
> Probably, the only way we're going to get a sane ISV-supportable desktop
> system is by forking the kernel at the start of major release cycles (2.4,
> 2.6 etc). So this whole discussion is pretty useless and I wish I had
> never started it, people here are far more interested in theoretical
> performance benefits being available RIGHT NOW than eg being able to buy a
> working wireless card.

Anybody can fork any time, there are lots of forks out there.  Good luck
making a successful fork dedicated to closed-source support.


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