Linux in a binary world... a doomsday scenario
Posted Dec 8, 2005 15:20 UTC (Thu) by NRArnot
Parent article: Linux in a binary world... a doomsday scenario
Wouldn't a bit of pragmatism be better than dogmatic adherence to the one true way (whatever you think that might be?)
I'm fairly happy to use the NVidia drivers because by and large they work, and more because I have at least two ways of doing without them should I need to (run a lower-performance open-source driver instead, or remove the graphics card and plug in something else). I'd be a lot less happy if it were a driver for something essential embedded on a motherboard, without which I culd not access my data. In fact, that would worry me so much I'd not buy that motherboard at all. But I'd also be very unhappy if it became impossible for vendors to offer limited co-operation with the OSS community for fear of releasing their trade secrets to their competitors.
A suggestion that might bridge a gap: software escrow. How about if manufacturers who do not want to reveal secrets to their competitors deposit the source of every binary blob they release with a trusted third party? There could be a standard agreement about what they need to do on a continuing basis in order to keep their sources secret. At some time they may decide that the product is obsolescent, the secrets no longer important to keep, and it is no longer in their interest to maintain the blobs - at that point the source would be released to the community. Because it's in escrow and because they had already signed a binding agreement, they could not go back on their word and land us with a big problem.
Such agreements are not uncommon in the closed-source proprietary world, to protect a business against the consequence of a key softwre supplier going bust or otherwise failing to provide adequate support.
to post comments)