|From:||Greg KH <greg-AT-kroah.com>|
|Subject:||InfiniBand incompatible with the Linux kernel?|
|Date:||Fri, 8 Oct 2004 13:22:47 -0700|
Hi all, Enough people have been asking me about this lately, that I thought I would just bring it up publicly here. It seems that the Infiniband group (IBTA) has changed their licensing agrement of the basic Infiniband spec. See: http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=18922 for more info about this. The main point that affects Linux is the fact that now, no non-member of the IBTA can implement any working Infiniband code, otherwise they might run into legal problems. As an anonymous member of a IBTA company told me: If someone downloads the spec without joining the IBTA, and proceeds to use the spec for an implementation of the IBTA spec, that person (company) runs the risk of being a target of patent infringement claims by IBTA members. Another person, wanting to remain anonymous stated to me: In justification for this position people say that they are just trying to get more people to join the IBTA because they need the dues, which by coincidence are $9500 per year, and point out that some other commonly used specs are similarly made available for steep prices. I don't know one way or the other about that but this sounds a lot like the reason that we all gave ourselves for NOT including SDP in the kernel. So, even if a IBTA member company creates a Linux IB implementation, and gets it into the kernel tree, any company who ships such a implementation, who is not a IBTA member, could be the target of any patent infringement claims. So, OpenIB group, how to you plan to address this issue? Do you all have a position as to how you think your code base can be accepted into the main kernel tree given these recent events? thanks, greg k-h  SDP, for those who do not know, is a part of the IB spec that Microsoft has come out and stated they they currently own the patents that cover that portion of the specification, and that anyone who wants to implement it, needs to get a licensing agreement with them. Of course, that license agreement does not allow for a GPLed version of the implementation.  Sure, any person who has a copy of the kernel source tree could be a target for any of a zillion other potential claims, nothing new there, but the point here is they are explicitly stating that they will go after non-IBTA members who touch IB code.  An insanely stupid position to take, given the fact that any normal industry group would be very happy to actually have people use their specification, but hey, the IB people have never been know for their brilliance in the past... - To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in the body of a message to firstname.lastname@example.org More majordomo info at http://vger.kernel.org/majordomo-info.html Please read the FAQ at http://www.tux.org/lkml/
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