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The code is the documentation often

The code is the documentation often

Posted Oct 12, 2006 1:33 UTC (Thu) by bignose (subscriber, #40)
In reply to: The code is the documentation often by arjan
Parent article: Device drivers and non-disclosure agreements

> For many pieces of hardware, no such driver-writer level documentation
> exists! At all. Often the driver (often only the Windows one) gets
> developed together with the hardware, and the driver ends up BEING the
> documentation.

This doesn't change the request. If the hardware vendor wants their hardware to work with free operating systems, they should be providing documentation in whatever best form they have. If their best documentation is the source code for a driver, then that is what they can release.

If they *choose* to restrict this best form of documentation under a non-free license (either by choosing that license, or accepting it from another party), then they choose to lock themselves out of free operating systems.

It is *not* within the power of a free software developer to create that documentation under a free license. It *is* within the hardware vendor's power to provide the documentation as requested; if they choose not to participate, that is their decision, and they must wear the consequences.


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The code is the documentation often

Posted Oct 12, 2006 6:59 UTC (Thu) by arjan (subscriber, #36785) [Link]

and guess what... Intel (one of the attacked parties here) does provide drivers for just about anything under open source Licenses....

also you "and they must wear the consequences" sentence starts to smell like we open source people have real power other than "your device is not supported"; guess what, we don't. It's not a small power, given the market size of open source today (esp Linux) in the server world, but in the desktop world... that power is near zero unfortunately.

The code is the documentation often

Posted Oct 17, 2006 4:51 UTC (Tue) by bignose (subscriber, #40) [Link]

> also you "and they must wear the consequences" sentence starts to smell
> like we open source people have real power other than "your device is
> not supported"; guess what, we don't.

That seems like power enough. Linux is the kernel with the most hardware support, ever, out of the box. Customers with lots of money are realising this.

If the hardware vendors want in on that, consistently and with a minimum of maintenance costs, they need to play by the rules. The rules say that proprietary drivers in the kernel are illegal, unworkable, and unethical.

http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/ols_2006_keynote.html


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