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Support for drivers in user space

Support for drivers in user space

Posted Sep 7, 2006 14:53 UTC (Thu) by simlo (guest, #10866)
In reply to: Support for drivers in user space by flewellyn
Parent article: Support for drivers in user space

I think this is a good compromise:
An open source, GPL'ed, in-kernel driver very often perform better than the closed source user-space one. Thus vendors providing open source drivers gets an etch over those who do not want to open their driver. So Linux users not so worried about having a 100% free system will be able to use the hardware but will tend to choose one from a vendor providing an open driver, because it performs better.

And it is not as big a problem for the kernel development since the interface to userspace can more easily be keeped stable than an internal API.

Having a closed source driver running in userspace is a good starting point for reverse engineering it, too.

Esben

PS. How can you complain about a closed source driver and not complain about the BIOS? Or the closed source microcode in the processor?


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Support for drivers in user space

Posted Sep 7, 2006 19:33 UTC (Thu) by flewellyn (subscriber, #5047) [Link]

I think the reason people don't complain about the BIOS (more than they do; see LinuxBIOS) is that the BIOS could be considered part of the hardware. So could microcode in the processor.

If hardware manufacturers put the "sensitive" portions of their drivers in firmware, using Forth or something else compact to provide a programmable interface to the hardware, then they could release free drivers that just sent the necessary commands to the firmware. I don't think that would be objectionable, since, again, the firmware could be considered part of the hardware.

Maybe. I'm not a lawyer. (I would like to see free firmware, mind you, but I think free software is more important.)

Support for drivers in user space

Posted Sep 7, 2006 22:06 UTC (Thu) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

PS. How can you complain about a closed source driver and not complain about the BIOS? Or the closed source microcode in the processor?
Richard Stallman does. In fact many people do once they learn or figure out the problem. The reasoning goes: software you can change yourself should be free software, i.e. have source code available and allow distribution of modified versions.

People do not complain about the microcode in the processor, mind you, since it cannot be upgraded or changed; it can safely be considered hardware.

Support for drivers in user space

Posted Sep 8, 2006 10:26 UTC (Fri) by Los__D (guest, #15263) [Link]

Oh? http://freshmeat.net/projects/intelp6microcodeupdateutility/

Support for drivers in user space

Posted Sep 8, 2006 10:38 UTC (Fri) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

Oops! One more thing to worry about then...


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