|| ||Theo de Raadt <deraadt-AT-cvs.openbsd.org>|
|| ||Letter to OLPC|
|| ||Thu, 05 Oct 2006 11:50:54 -0600|
I have decided to make public this letter which I sent to the OLPC
("One Laptop Per Child" group, which is strongly associated with Red
There have been replies to it by both Jim Gettys (argueing that their
expediency is justified) and RMS (agreeing strongly with my point of
view), but I will not disclose their letters.
I am getting really tired of "open source" people who work against the
open source community. Our little group can probably take credit for
having "opened up" more wireless devices than the rest of the
community, and therefore we feel we have a better grasp of the damage
OLPC has done here. Our reverse engineering and documentation efforts
will in time help all free software projects.
Please take note, and publish if you wish. Thanks.
To: Jonathan Gray <firstname.lastname@example.org>
cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Re: Marvell 88W8388 documentation
In-reply-to: Your message of "Thu, 14 Sep 2006 22:47:00 +1000."
Date: Wed, 04 Oct 2006 12:38:34 -0600
From: Theo de Raadt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Please correct me if I am wrong but it seems that documentation
> for Marvell's 88W8388's is not publically available without
> signing an NDA?
> If this is the case why did a project that seems to pride
> itself of openess agree to deal with such a company?
> Drivers written under NDA tend to be full of magic numbers,
> near impossible for others to properly maintain and
> totally against the spirit of open projects.
> I really think you should push for Marvell to give out
> documentation without them forcing NDAs onto people.
> Failing that I'm sure there are other vendors
> who would be willing to be more helpful.
Jonathan showed me this mail he sent you about your NDA "cooperation"
with Marvell for the wireless chip that you want to use for the OLPC
project, so that Marvell will write you special hacks to do low-power
mesh networking while the main cpu is powered off. This does not
gaurantee Marvell is going to be open and release documentation for
their chips though.
When large players like you make such private agreements with such
secretive vendors, you work against our common goals of getting more
open documentation for devices. It is only with open documentation
that OS groups can increase device support, and later -- keep the
device drivers reliable after the device is EOL'd by the vendor.
I've heard claims that you (OLPC members, Red Hat employees) think
this relationship with Marvell will eventually prompt/teach them to be
more open in time. Do you not realize how much of a DELUSION the
history of free/open operating systems shows that point of view to be?
Very few chip vendors have ever opened up unless they were pushed, let
alone Marvell (who I am led to believe also has NDA's with Red Hat
employees for the Marvell Yukon/Yukon 2 gigabit ethernet chips --
again one of the few closed chips).
It is clear that your choices are not about opening up Marvell, but
simply commercially expedient and hurtful to our common cause. You
came to Marvell with potential sales of millions of units, and then
completely wimped out in demanding ideals that you say you share with
the community. Now other companies like Intel, Broadcom, and TI can
say to us "Why should we open up, Marvell did not have to".
So I must say I am extremely dissapointed you have chosen to work
against the very obvious goals of "open", and I hope that in time you
are made to feel ashamed of the choice you have made.
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