Closed source modules will be banned from kernel?

Antonio Olivares olivares14031 at
Mon Jul 7 19:10:19 UTC 2008

Dear all,

Closed source kernel drivers would not be allowed to run under new kernels?

Does this mean that a new nvidia driver would not work anymore :(

For which kernels would this affect us?

Companies that have died out or been bought out that released drivers, those drivers would not work anymore with the kernel?

<quote from>
Kernel Developers Release Statement on Closed-Source Drivers & Commentary
Rahul Sundaram forwarded [1] a position statement from a group of 160 kernel developers [2] on closed-source kernel drivers: 
"We, the undersigned Linux kernel developers, consider any closed-source Linux kernel module or driver to be harmful and undesirable. We have repeatedly found them to be detrimental to Linux users, businesses, and the greater Linux ecosystem. Such modules negate the openness, stability, flexibility, and maintainability of the Linux development model and shut their users off from the expertise of the Linux community. Vendors that provide closed-source kernel modules force their customers to give up key Linux advantages or choose new vendors. Therefore, in order to take full advantage of the cost savings and shared support benefits open source has to offer, we urge vendors to adopt a policy of supporting their customers on Linux with open-source kernel code." 
James Bottomley of The Linux Foundation provided some editorial commentary on this issue, with respect to graphics drivers [3], using Fedora as a recent example: 
"In essence this is because binary drivers totally negate the shared support and maintenance burden which is what makes Open Source so compelling. Additionally, there is also a drag effect these binary drivers have on the rest of the ecosystem: for instance, Fedora was under enormous pressure not to release Fedora 9 until there was a solution that allowed it to run with the Nvidia binary driver (Fedora chose to ship with a pre-release of the X windows system which Nvidia refused to support and because the driver was binary Fedora couldn't simply fix the problems and ship anyway)." 
[1] [2] [3]

I understand that we as users cannot blame the kernel, because another driver causes it to become unstable.  But what does this mean for companies like nvidia?  and for the end users?

>From what I understand Linus Torvalds, did not sign the Kernel Driver statement.  

I also understand that kernel developers would build drivers for companies if they asked, what about if a company died out, would that offer hold?

Thank you for any answers provided (good or bad).  The users need to be informed and then later find out that binary drivers would not be allowed, unless one builds a custom kernel? or does that matter here?




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