Closed source modules will be banned from kernel?

Antonio Olivares olivares14031 at
Mon Jul 7 19:37:13 UTC 2008

--- On Mon, 7/7/08, Alan Cox <alan at> wrote:

> From: Alan Cox <alan at>
> Subject: Re: Closed source modules will be banned from kernel?
> To: olivares14031 at
> Cc: fedora-list at
> Date: Monday, July 7, 2008, 11:51 AM
> > Closed source kernel drivers would not be allowed to
> run under new kernels?
> You'd need to ask a lawyer but a lot of us take the
> view that they are
> not anyway.
> > Does this mean that a new nvidia driver would not work
> anymore :(
> No. The statement is a position, not a decree from on high,
> and even if
> it was a decree from on high (which wouldn't occur) you
> could change the
> source to undo it ;)
> > 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?
> If there is sufficient documentation to write a driver
> there are people
> who want to write drivers for stuff. It doesn't really
> matter whether the
> hardware is without a vendor or not.
> > 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?
> Binary modules usually last only a few releases before
> changes in the
> kernel break them by accident anyway so I would assume that
> if a binary
> driver vendor goes under the clock is ticking.
> Alan

Thank you Alan for sharing your expertise on this issue.  I also wonder if the kernel ever gets released under GPL v3.  If it does, then surely the binary stuff would be banned for good.

At least for the time being the drivers will still work, but sooner or later, they will not if we update to later kernels.  




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