[clug] The GPL and kernel modules

Robert Edwards bob at cs.anu.edu.au
Wed Jun 21 02:31:25 GMT 2006

Paul Wayper wrote:
> (I actually don't understand why nVidia and ATI and so forth haven't 
> just come forward with the source code for their kernel modules anyway.  
> It's not like the API for things like DirectX and OpenGL are 
> particularly secret, and that's (to a greater or lesser degree) what 
> their Windows drivers are implementing.  All their competitors will have 
> disassembled their drivers anyway, so it's not like their raw hardware 
> interface is either particularly interesting or secret.  And who bashes 
> on raw hardware these days anyway?  Are there any software secrets that 
> this source code is particularly protecting?  Surely the secrets are all 
> in the hardware anyway...)

I'm guessing that their lawyers are advising them that if they don't
take reasonably strong steps to protect the IP in their code (secret or
otherwise) then they won't be able to charge license fees etc. etc.

btw. I agree completely with your sentiments that it shouldn't fall to
a court to make a final determination as to who is right and who is
wrong here...but that is the way our society works - when two parties
disagree, an impartial judge (possibly with the help of a jury) makes a
decision and so both parties need to do whatever they can to convince
the court of the merits of their case. And usually it falls to whoever
has the most money to pay their legal team with (or bribe the judge -
woops, I wasn't supposed to say that :-)

Bob Edwards.

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