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View Poll Results: What driver do you use ?
I use the binary driver and use 3d acceleration. 90 67.67%
I use the binary driver but don't really need 3d acceleration. 14 10.53%
I use the free driver and actually "need" acceleration. 26 19.55%
I use the free driver and don't really need 3d acceleration. 3 2.26%
Voters: 133. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-02-06, 09:43 PM   #49
russofris
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Developing a closed source module for the linux kernel is legal. It "is" illegal to distribute said module without the source. Creating a GPL'd kernel interface for a binary module that was built for another OS is the grey area. While the Nvidia Linux and Windows modules share a common codebase, it doesn't help their situation. They still maintain a linux branch, and distribute the binary.

If they released a gpl kernel interface to their Windows driver, then they'd be all set in the grey area of which you speak. But they don't (It's really not technically feasible anyway).

So, Nvidia is in violation of the GPL. Only the creators of the code which they link against (linux kernel devs mainly) can take action against them. If they released source, they'd be in violation of their contracts with Intel, Microsoft, and a dozen other IP holders. I actually feel sad for them.

The only way forward is to port the UtahGLX code to Mesa/DRI, rev-eng the NV3x -4x specs, and write our own driver.

Thank you for your time,
Frank Russo
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Old 08-03-06, 09:00 AM   #50
Jecos
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by russofris
Developing a closed source module for the linux kernel is legal. It "is" illegal to distribute said module without the source. Creating a GPL'd kernel interface for a binary module that was built for another OS is the grey area. While the Nvidia Linux and Windows modules share a common codebase, it doesn't help their situation. They still maintain a linux branch, and distribute the binary.

If they released a gpl kernel interface to their Windows driver, then they'd be all set in the grey area of which you speak. But they don't (It's really not technically feasible anyway).

So, Nvidia is in violation of the GPL. Only the creators of the code which they link against (linux kernel devs mainly) can take action against them. If they released source, they'd be in violation of their contracts with Intel, Microsoft, and a dozen other IP holders. I actually feel sad for them.

The only way forward is to port the UtahGLX code to Mesa/DRI, rev-eng the NV3x -4x specs, and write our own driver.

Thank you for your time,
Frank Russo
Oh whats that, the driver license says your not allowed to reverse engineer anything (http://www.nvidia.com/object/nv_swlicense.html) , looks like were screwed, and stuck with waiting for nvidia to take forever to support us, even though we spend $270 for a card with their gpu.
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Old 08-03-06, 09:05 AM   #51
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

@energyman76b
Thx for the quality of your explanation!
This thread answears many things I wonder!

I not really a geek on linux but i'm interesting in packaging rpm on Fedora Core. So i may be wrong sometime. Fell free to correct me.
Actually, there is a debate on repositories for rpm because the maintainer fall support of the kmod-vidia precompiled rpm. The reason invoqued is that it possibly violate the GPL. That's why i am interested in that question.
If releasing the Nvidia pre-compiled module is illegal (with or without the kernel?) why this is deported to the user choice?
I expect this question is raising because of the Kororaa case. But this may be link with a distrib that aim to test accelerated 3d on aiglx (or xgl i don't remember!)

The thing that is clear is that releasing the whole source may not be possible easily. But, for example intel releases a GPL driver for their ipw2200 wifi chipset. And there is a firmware with it (not sourced). Why Nvidia could not do the same? They (intel) are not making patch all the time to work with the more recent kernel!

There is a lot of thing that cannot work with the driver for example xen do not work at all (that 's mean pacifica with Windows upon linux do not work). And aiglx neither because of the implementation of the texture_from_pixmap inside the driver.(we are currently wait for...)

The main problem of that last question is that few mount ago. Nvidia tells the developper kernel what is better to do for architecturing aiglx, so developpers may fell dispossess from their work on the kernel. That's led to the question : is it the kernel to fit the module rules or the module to fit the kernel's ones. Maybe it is an interaction...But I fell this GPL question is raising because kernel developpers wants the interact to go more in their way and to control the whole developpement.

Intel will release 3d integrated chipset with the release and the needs of Vista and maybe also aiglx (possibly with Fedora Core 6?...). They are usually fair with developpement on linux releasing GPL drivers. Why Nvidia could not do the same?

The needs are for exemple maya for linux , or blender. This is not only games. And the aiglx will bring to the standart desktop the needs for ererybody of 3d acceleration hardware!

Last edited by kwizart; 08-03-06 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 08-03-06, 10:19 AM   #52
energyman76b
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwizart
@energyman76b
Thx for the quality of your explanation!
This thread answears many things I wonder!

I not really a geek on linux but i'm interesting in packaging rpm on Fedora Core. So i may be wrong sometime. Fell free to correct me.
Actually, there is a debate on repositories for rpm because the maintainer fall support of the kmod-vidia precompiled rpm. The reason invoqued is that it possibly violate the GPL. That's why i am interested in that question.
If releasing the Nvidia pre-compiled module is illegal (with or without the kernel?) why this is deported to the user choice?
I expect this question is raising because of the Kororaa case. But this may be link with a distrib that aim to test accelerated 3d on aiglx (or xgl i don't remember!)
because the GPL only covers distribution, not usage. You are not allowed to distribute a work consisting of closed source and gpl'ed software combined to a single object (like a precompiled module for the redhat kernel). That is a breach of the GPL and can have severe consequences.

But at home, or for your company, you can do what you want. The GPL does not forbid you to make a combined work and use it for yourself. That is why the work has to be delegated to the user.
When the user compiles the module and loads it, it is perfectly legal. Distributing it, not.

Do you see the difference?

The user is free to do whatever he wishes to do, as long as he does not distribute the results. As soon as he starts distributing them, he has to follow the GPL.
That was the reason for the Kororaa problem (but IMHO Kororaa was unfairly targeted. A lot of Distributions distributed the precompiled drivers... but Kororraa was targeted... most probably because they are small and do not have the money for lawyers. Linspire for example was as guilty as Kororaa.... ), they distributed it. If they had the drivers on the cd and a script that had to be run by the user to compile the driver and set up everything, they would have been on the safe side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwizart
The main problem of that last question is that few mount ago. Nvidia tells the developper kernel what is better to do for architecturing aiglx, so developpers may fell dispossess from their work on the kernel. That's led to the question : is it the kernel to fit the module rules or the module to fit the kernel's ones. Maybe it is an interaction...But I fell this GPL question is raising because kernel developpers wants the interact to go more in their way and to control the whole developpement.
the kernel devs? Don't you mean the Xorg devs?

The kernel devs don't have a problem with control... but the kernel is THEIR work - ever heard of intelectual property? They made it, and they released it under the GPL, which has certain rules everybody has to obey. If someone does not obey to that rules - I would feel pissed. Another problem: kernels with closed source modules loaded are not debuggable by the kernel devs. There are lots and lots of bug reports, that can not worked upon, because the kernel had loaded several closed source modules at that time - and the devs don't habe access to the modules source (worst case: ndiswrapper).

So a closed source module loaded at the wrong moment may hinder kernel development - from a kernel devs point of view this is hardly bearable. They try to make a good product, but some modules are f*ing them up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwizart
Intel will release 3d integrated chipset with the release and the needs of Vista and maybe also aiglx (possibly with Fedora Core 6?...). They are usually fair with developpement on linux releasing GPL drivers. Why Nvidia could not do the same?
well there are rumors that some of the IP in the nvidia module is owned by INTEL.. and the last time NVIDIA released an open source driver (yes, that happened - a long time ago), they got angry mail from Intel.. and Microsoft. Intel is big enough to fight of MS - Nvidia is not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwizart
The needs are for exemple maya for linux , or blender. This is not only games. And the aiglx will bring to the standart desktop the needs for ererybody of 3d acceleration hardware!
well... aigl or xgl... what is the difference from the users point of view? He does not care how the fancy eye candy is generated....
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Old 08-03-06, 11:47 AM   #53
Henning Rogge
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

All this "driver is important", "driver contains IP", "driver might violate patents" argument don't explain why they don't want to document their hardware interface. Of course any open source driver would start at a much lower level than nvidias, but with a documentation how to control the hardware they would have a much better chance to write a driver of their own.
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Old 08-04-06, 01:27 PM   #54
Jecos
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

http://www.infoworld.com/article/06/...OPcurve_1.html

Quote:
"Lastly, and remember you heard it here, AMD is strongly considering open-sourcing at least a functional subset of ATI’s graphics drivers. It’s time for X Window System, OpenGL, and client virtualization for which ATI binary drivers aren’t available to escape the ghetto of the 1980s-era framebuffer. And what a boon for PR. If AMD’s graphics cards were the only ones with open device drivers, it might affect a buying decision or two."
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Old 08-04-06, 03:01 PM   #55
Henning Rogge
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Sounds great... maybe it makes NVidia following them.
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Old 08-05-06, 01:08 AM   #56
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

sounds *verry* good!
the second amd/ati opens the driver, i'll switch! :-)
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Old 08-05-06, 02:09 PM   #57
Henning Rogge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _tf_
sounds *verry* good!
the second amd/ati opens the driver, i'll switch! :-)
I switched to an nvidia card a few months ago because ati drivers suck (and my old ati card had a hardware problem suddenly). Would be a great joke (from the universe) if NOW ati release OS drivers and NVidia don't.
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Old 08-05-06, 04:36 PM   #58
energyman76b
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henning Rogge
I switched to an nvidia card a few months ago because ati drivers suck (and my old ati card had a hardware problem suddenly). Would be a great joke (from the universe) if NOW ati release OS drivers and NVidia don't.
the ATI-AMD deal is not even certain (the shareholders still have to approve) and you are talking about open drivers. It may take month until the merger is complete. And even then it will be take more time, until AMD releases open drivers - if they ever do.

So even if they release some open drivers (and didn't they talk about 'basic drivers' in the article? Sounds like 2d.. and nothing more, because you don't even have 2d with current ATI... something nvidia does deliver), it may take 12 month and more.. so far in the future that it is time for a hardware upgrade anyway... maybe nouveau has some drivers ready. and what would you do in that case?
Basic drivers from amd? alpha drivers from nouveau? closed source from nvidia?

Tough decision...

no, not really.. I would go nvidia... two parties delivering drivers, one experimental, one working, is better than one party delivering 'some kind of drivers'.
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Old 08-06-06, 01:12 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henning Rogge
I switched to an nvidia card a few months ago because ati drivers suck (and my old ati card had a hardware problem suddenly). Would be a great joke (from the universe) if NOW ati release OS drivers and NVidia don't.
haha yes only time will tell i think.
i too will stay away from ati's closed drivers.
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Old 08-06-06, 02:35 PM   #60
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

This is my first post here in a long time... The article The Role of Binary Drivers in a Free OS makes for some interesting reading, and has some very valid points about this issue. Pay attention to the author's conclusion.
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