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Old 10-24-02, 08:47 AM   #1
nyquist
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When are Nvidia going to release the source code for their linux drivers. I will not use them until they are open; they rely on the linux kernel and thus are a derived work of the linux kernel and thus fall under the GPL. Nvidia's lawyers made a big error somewhere and Nvidia are liable to having trading halted for illegal practises.
This forum is the only contact method I could find on their site, so I just wanted to let nvidia know what they are doing.
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Old 10-24-02, 09:34 AM   #2
r0gu3
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This comment is so ridiculous that it doesn't reserve a response... but here it is anyways...

Nvidia isn't breaking any licensing agreements at all...

Maybe you should read the license of the linux kernel, then you would realize its not gpl, but actually lgpl...

i am not gonna waste anymore time with you ignorance...

read it here
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/licenses.html

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Old 10-24-02, 12:09 PM   #3
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Go away.

Or at least figure out that the kernel's license specifically allows this -- it isn't just GPL'ed. It's "GPL with additional rights as given by Linus", and among them is the right to link against it with a proprietary kernel module.
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Old 10-25-02, 03:59 AM   #4
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"Maybe you should read the license of the linux kernel, then you would realize its not gpl, but actually lgpl."
I will refer you to http://www.linux.org/, check
fourth line down where it says "Developed under the GNU General Public License "...
"i am not gonna waste anymore time with you ignorance..."
I'm not trying to start a flame war any anything, I would just like nvidia to know they're liable, in the _hope_ they will release their code.
I will also refer you to http://www.linux.org/info/gnu.html, where under section 2 clause b, "You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License."
The nvidia driver has been developed as part of the linux kernel, using code taken from the main kernel source and _is_ a derived work.
I'm no boy scout, I don't speak for all of the community, but if you're using the nvidia module now you'll most likely be using a 2.2x|2.4x kernel, because by the time 2.6|3.0 is released there will be strict gpl compliance which will dissallow loading a non gpl'd module since it taints the kernel. id est, by 2.6|3.0, you will not be able to use this driver if it has not been gpl'd (well you might be able to hack it by wrapping the loader in a script which exports MODULE_LICENSE('GPL');)
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Old 10-25-02, 06:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nyquist
The nvidia driver has been developed as part of the linux kernel, using code taken from the main kernel source and _is_ a derived work.
No, it hasn't. It uses the kernel interfaces, nothing more. The driver itself is not a derived work.

Now, a running kernel with the driver inserted, probably is a derived work. But that's not the point.

Quote:
I'm no boy scout, I don't speak for all of the community, but if you're using the nvidia module now you'll most likely be using a 2.2x|2.4x kernel, because by the time 2.6|3.0 is released there will be strict gpl compliance which will dissallow loading a non gpl'd module since it taints the kernel.
I'd like to see it. Since Linus' position is that he doesn't care (and this is one of the reasons why the FSF doesn't especially like the Linux kernel license), my guess is that it ain't going to matter.
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Old 10-25-02, 09:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by bwkaz
I'd like to see it. Since Linus' position is that he doesn't care (and this is one of the reasons why the FSF doesn't especially like the Linux kernel license), my guess is that it ain't going to matter.
You may want to take a look at these kernel threads:

http://www.uwsg.iu.edu/hypermail/lin...10.2/0603.html

http://www.uwsg.iu.edu/hypermail/lin...10.2/0617.html

In particular, GPL-only exports of symbols (that is, only modules that are GPL will be able to get some kernel symbols) may cause a future problem for nVidia:

http://www.uwsg.iu.edu/hypermail/lin...09.3/0887.html

None of this means that nVidia is in any way in violation of kernel licensing, or that it will experience a problem with the 3.0 kernel.

However, it's something that we can't confirm for ourselves one way or the other because source is not provided. nVidia has also not provided a driver for the 3.0 kernel, preventing any testing of this hardware with the next Linux kernel. As a user, that concerns me.

I would appreciate a definitive statement from nVidia on their support of Linux 3.0 kernels.
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Old 10-25-02, 12:56 PM   #7
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3.0? Or 2.6?

The syscalls haven't changed yet, so there's no reason to make it 3.0. Incrementing the major number has generally only happened when binary compatibility broke, not just for when a bunch of new features were added.

But beside that, I see. I was under the impression that Linus specifically allowed this kind of thing; I guess not. This also explains why very few vendors have bundled the nVidia driver with their distro; the resulting kernel would be a "derived work", as far as I understand the term, and the distro makers don't have source for all of it. (Which begs the question, why did RedHat do that recently? I have no idea...)

Although have you seen the section of the linux-kernel FAQ here? It seems to imply that current non-GPLONLY symbols won't be changed to GPLONLY, so the people at nVidia should be OK. Of course, there's nothing binding the kernel developers to that, but I have a feeling they'll stick to it for the time being.
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Old 10-25-02, 01:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by bwkaz
3.0? Or 2.6?

The syscalls haven't changed yet, so there's no reason to make it 3.0. Incrementing the major number has generally only happened when binary compatibility broke, not just for when a bunch of new features were added.
It's still not final, but it looks like the kernel developers are leaning towards calling it 3.0. Kerneltrap has more on the discussion:

http://www.kerneltrap.org/node.php?id=436

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Old 10-25-02, 03:15 PM   #9
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Just for some clearance... linux made the kernel lgpl some years ago... the reason he did so was exactly this, so that vendors can have binary only drivers...

Now one thing the kernel developer's WON'T do is try to debug kernels loaded without the source to all the modules... this makes tons of sense... So basically what they say is that if you load up a non-gpl(or lgpl for people who don't understand generalizations), and you computer crashes... their best guess is that it was that binary only kernel module, and not the rest of the kernel...

And as far as lgpl vs gpl... search on kernel trap... There was much discussion about this a few years ago... but the lgpl has many of the same restrictions as the gpl... especially about derivative work... but it allows linking... which is exactly what nvidia does when you compile the kernel module against, your PRE-BUILT kernel sources... It needs to link against the kernel so it can be loaded into the kernel... Linus did this for the whole purpose of letting vendors have binary only kernel modules... MANY linux libraries (take gtk for instance) are lgpl'ed even though they are refered to as gpl'ed... If you can't download the kernel your damn self and read the license that comes with it...

But as far as the nvidia open sourcing their kernel module??? wtf is the point... if they had some legal requirement to do so(which they don't) they would have only a few options... the first, stop supporting linux, which makes the most sense if the os vender won't work with them... or second, make a kernel module opensource, which basically allows them to take over all io's necessary for operation, and the migrate all the rest of the code into their BINARY ONLY XFREE86 driver, if this were to happen, there would be a performance hit for everyone... But as far as opensourcing their drivers???? they outsourced their agp drivers, so they CAN'T legally do that for starters. Second, why would they give the source out to their drivers, to give the competition a hand??? maybe if I were talking to an older audience who understands what the "bottom line" is then i wouldn't have to reiterate this point so much...

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Old 10-26-02, 08:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by macemoneta
It's still not final, but it looks like the kernel developers are leaning towards calling it 3.0. Kerneltrap has more on the discussion:

http://www.kerneltrap.org/node.php?id=436
Yeah, I've read those threads off the lkml archives. Although I got the opposite impression from them, that they weren't going to move to 3.0 until they introduced binary incompatibilities. Now, it seems that Linus will change to 3.0 if enough people were happy with the VM. Hmm.

Doesn't make much sense to me, but I'm not a kernel developer. So I don't really have all that much say...
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