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Kororaa Accused of Violating GPL 843

Posted by Zonk
from the penguin-is-confused dept.
AlanS2002 writes "The Kororaa Project, a pre-configured binary install method for Gentoo Linux which bundles nVidia's and ATI binary drivers in its Kororaa Xgl Live CD , has put its Live CD on hold after being accused of violating the GPL. The issue appears to be the distribution of the Linux Kernel and nVidia's/ATI binary drivers together. When the binary drivers are built the GPL'ed code is included in the binary result, which is a violation."
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Kororaa Accused of Violating GPL

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  • Re:tainted kernel (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis&gmail,com> on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:28PM (#15330917) Homepage
    It only taints the kernel if you load the module. The kernel itself [the bzImage] is entirely based on GPL code.

    So don't autoload the drivers and the kernel will not load with a tainted status. /me shakes head...

    Tom
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:44PM (#15330988)
    Repeat after me:
    There is no GPL code in the binary driver!

    Nobody claims there is and that's not the issue here.
    One really has to ask how this article submission could have been acceptec, especially as the way the nvidia driver works is clearly spelled out on the kororaa hompage:

            The NVIDIA kernel module consists of two pieces: a binary-only
            portion and a kernel interface layer (aka the "shim"). The
            binary-only portion is not Linux-specific (the same code is used
            on Windows, Solaris, etc), and does not include any Linux kernel
            header files when it is built. The shim is provided in source code
            form with the driver package, and this is the piece that is compiled
            for your version and configuration of the Linux kernel. The shim
            is the only piece that references Linux kernel data structures or
            macros, and only does so to the extent that is needed to provide
            the functionality of a modern graphics driver. After the shim is
            compiled, it is linked with the binary-only portion, to produce
            the final NVIDIA kernel module.
  • by qbwiz (87077) * <john AT baumanfamily DOT com> on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:45PM (#15330997) Homepage
    Perhaps, but the binary module is compiled by linking against the kernel headers, and it includes shim code which may (or may not) be derived from the kernel. This would mean that the compiled binary module (which he is distributing) could therefore be derived from the kernel, and thus would need to be distributed under the terms of the GPL.

    Why do you think that nvidia doesn't precompile their shim code too, when they distribute their kernel module. Of course, If copyright affected Kororaa, then it should affect any other distribution which distributes compiled binary kernel modules.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:45PM (#15331001)
    Perhaps the first point of call is that the nVidia license permits the re-distribution of their driver in Linux distributions. Surely if it was a GPL violation they are not allowed to do this, or perhaps it's just down to the distro maintainer to see if the GPL overrides other package licenses.

    I send emails to both ATI and nVidia querying this license issue. ATI didn't even acknowledge my email however nVidia (to their credit) did reply (thank you!). Here is the nVidia license, as quoted in an email from nVidia:

            The NVIDIA Software License:

            http://www.nvidia.com/object/nv_swlicense.html [nvidia.com]

            permits redistribution of the NVIDIA Linux Graphics driver like you are doing:

            "2.1.2 Linux/FreeBSD Exception. Notwithstanding the foregoing terms
            of Section 2.1.1, SOFTWARE designed exclusively for use on the Linux
            or FreeBSD operating systems, or other operating systems derived
            from the source code to these operating systems, may be copied
            and redistributed, provided that the binary files thereof are not
            modified in any way (except for unzipping of compressed files)."
  • Re:Whaaa? (Score:3, Informative)

    by BobPaul (710574) * on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:53PM (#15331036) Journal
    Nope. You have to provide every piece of source code necessary to build it. The maintainers of KORORAA don't have the source code to NVidia and ATI drivers. Hence the violation.

    No, that's blatently wrong. OpenWRT includes the closed source BroadComm network driver, and RedHat Enterprise includes lots of Redhat only software that isn't GPL.

    Now, if you created your own custom kernel in order to make the binary drivers work, but then didn't include the source code for that, I would agree with you. But they didn't modify the kernel at all. They just compiled kernel modules.

    If the drivers themselves were "Derived works" then that would prohibit distribution. However, that would also prevent people from using them at all and require ATI and nVidia open sourced the drivers. This is not the case, though. The drivers contain a GPL kernel interface and a binary only driver. The kernel interface that the ATI and nVidia drivers use is the derived work, and is opensource. You can get it in the respective packages from ATI and nVidia's websites.
  • by ebooher (187230) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:04PM (#15331083) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps, but the binary module is compiled by linking against the kernel headers, and it includes shim code which may (or may not) be derived from the kernel. This would mean that the compiled binary module (which he is distributing) could therefore be derived from the kernel, and thus would need to be distributed under the terms of the GPL.

    According to information that the originator of Kororaa received from NVidia while investigating this matter, this is not true.

    The NVIDIA kernel module consists of two pieces: a binary-only portion and a kernel interface layer (aka the "shim"). The binary-only portion is not Linux-specific (the same code is used on Windows, Solaris, etc), and does not include any Linux kernel header files when it is built. The shim is provided in source code form with the driver package, and this is the piece that is compiled for your version and configuration of the Linux kernel. The shim is the only piece that references Linux kernel data structures or macros, and only does so to the extent that is needed to provide the functionality of a modern graphics driver. After the shim is compiled, it is linked with the binary-only portion, to produce the final NVIDIA kernel module.

    NVidia states that the binary is the same binary they use in all Systems. Be they Linux, BSD, Windows, or Bob's Unknown Mini-OS. The "shim" is the glue code they write that is OS specific that makes calls into the binary.

  • by foonf (447461) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:05PM (#15331094) Homepage
    Perhaps, but the binary module is compiled by linking against the kernel headers, and it includes shim code which may (or may not) be derived from the kernel.

    That is not "linking" in the sense that is covered by the GPL. The kernel headers contain declarations for kernel functions, structures, and macros. They don't actually produce any object code that is linked in the binary. The binary driver is produced from two object files, one distributed binary-only by NVIDIA and one compiled from NVIDIA's shim source, which is explicitly allowed to be linked with the binary, and not under the GPL. So no mixture of proprietary and GPL code occurs until runtime, when you actually use the driver, and while that is technically a GPL violation since the kernel runs in a single address space (hence the "tainted kernel" messages) neither NVIDIA nor any distributor is liable for it.

    Why do you think that nvidia doesn't precompile their shim code too, when they distribute their kernel module.

    They do, actually, or at least they used to (for the default kernels of specific distributions). Its just that the Linux kernel doesn't have a stable binary ABI for drivers, so it is necessary to recompile it for every single different kernel version. If it was up to them they likely wouldn't distribute any code at all, just a binary module, but because of the way Linux is that isn't practical. Other distributions, including even Debian, have also distributed linked binaries of the NVIDIA kernel drivers without trouble.
  • Re:tainted kernel (Score:1, Informative)

    by NetRAVEN5000 (905777) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:07PM (#15331102) Homepage
    ??

    nVidia isn't violating the GPL. Read the story. nVidia has nothing to do with it except that their drivers were thrown in with GPL code. nVidia did nothing wrong.

    And the only reason the closed-source drivers are better is because companies don't always document things well enough for us to make use of the hardware without some serious amounts of hacking. Nobody's blaming nVidia for anything, it's just that we wish that, if they aren't going to make their own drivers GPL, they'd document things well enough that we can make our own GPL drivers.

  • BS (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:09PM (#15331114)
    This is just a bunch of BS analysis done by software engineers, not lawyers. IAMLS (I am a Law Student) and it is basic that not all copying is a copyright violation. Firstly, runtime linking is not GPL violating because it does not create a copy (Copies must be tangible, which requires persistence. Temporary actions in RAM are not persistent. The only caselaw that supports that proposition is in dicta, so not binding.) Secondly, what is copied in copiling the Nvidia or ATI drivers from the kernel is basically nothing (relocation symbols) and is soley for the purposes of intercompatability and therefore does not amount to legal copying (If it did, then the BIOS on IBM-compatible PCs would be infringing for interacting with the copyright on the chipset). I.e. it's basic fair use for software, established by numerous cases. The fact is, not all linking requires the LGPL, only linking that leads to incorporation of a significant portion of copyrightable information.

    DISCLAIMER: This is not legal advice. Do not rely on it in anyway. By using this information in anyway, you agree to idemnify and hold harmless the provider of said information. If you want legal advice, contact an attorney.
  • by truedfx (802492) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:14PM (#15331144)
    The firewall code in your example is not BSD-licensed, so the restriction is not one of the BSD license. It doesn't get much simpler than that.
  • by Morgaine (4316) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:15PM (#15331150)
    The nVidia "shim" is licensed under the GPL and is copyright nVidia --- this means that it's perfectly legal to compile the shim against the GPL kernel. At the same time, nVidia is free to do whatever they want with the shim, and its license is immaterial to them at that point because they hold its copyright. The GPL has no say over what else the copyright owner can do with kernel-linked code, the only thing that's mandatory is that it's GPL'd, and it is. For example, it's very common for copyright holders to dual-license their own GPL'd code for commercial and highly proprietary use.

    Well, what nVidia chose to do in this case is to link the shim with their binary driver, and they're perfectly entitled to do that, by their copyright. Furthermore, since the shim and the binary driver are separate components from the kernel, they can certainly be shipped on the same CD as GPL components, as long as the binary code is not linked to the kernel. And it's not.

    So you see, by virtue of being the copyright holders of the shim and GPL'ing it, nVidia easily comply with the requirements of the GPL but aren't constrained in what else they do with it.

    If the binary module were linked against the kernel then you'd be right, but it's not. At no point in time did the binary module even get a sniff of the kernel, and it's shipped without knowing anything about it, nor viceversa.

    Yes, the dependency is contrived, but that's how the GPL forced them to rearrange their code dependency graph in order to stay on the good side of the GPL's guidelines.
  • Re:Whaaa? (Score:1, Informative)

    by NetRAVEN5000 (905777) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:23PM (#15331175) Homepage
    "No, that's blatently wrong. OpenWRT includes the closed source BroadComm network driver, and RedHat Enterprise includes lots of Redhat only software that isn't GPL."

    No. You've got a HUGE misunderstanding here.

    The problem here isn't about what's being distributed, it's about the implementation of it. It would've been fine if they had simply included the binaries to install the drivers. Instead they mixed the drivers in with the kernel - and distributing it that way is against the GPL.

    You can redistribute closed-source binaries and applications, you just can't mix them in with GPL code. Get what I'm saying? If they had only included the binary to install the driver, and let users install the driver themselves, that would've been fine.

    RedHat can throw whatever they want into RHEL, as long as their proprietary code doesn't get mixed in with GPL code. OpenWRT might include the closed-source Broadcom driver, but you have to install that driver yourself, don't you? (And actually, there is a GPL Broadcom driver so maybe OpenWRT uses that - I don't know anything about OpenWRT).

  • Re:tainted kernel (Score:4, Informative)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:27PM (#15331195)
    No, stop the FUD, please.

    As a special exception, the Free Software Foundation gives unlimited
    permission to copy, distribute and modify the configure scripts that
    are the output of Autoconf. You need not follow the terms of the GNU
    General Public License when using or distributing such scripts, even
    though portions of the text of Autoconf appear in them. The GNU
    General Public License (GPL) does govern all other use of the material
    that constitutes the Autoconf program.


    However, if the exception was not there, anything that needs autoconf would have to be licensed under a GPL-compatible license. Not necessarily GPLed itself -- if your piece of software is, for example, under BSD3, anyone can replace GPLed parts with something else and be not bound by the GPL any more.

    In nVidia's case, though, there is no such exception, and it would be next to impossible to get it, considering that every single contributor to the Linux kernel would have to grant it. Including those who are dead (in which case you need to track down whoever inherited the copyright) or in persistent vegetative case (in that case you're simply out of luck until they die).
  • Re:tainted kernel (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:30PM (#15331208)
    No. Autoconf is part of the build environment, not part of the final program. The issue with binary kernel modules is quite complicated (not really, but it goes deeper than many people care to look). On one hand there is a license incompatibility between a GPLd kernel and a closed-source kernel module. For these to work together, the kernel module needs to be linked into the kernel, which, in the terms of the GPL, makes it a derivative work. On the other hand there's standard copyright law which allows the use of published interfaces. So, when the binary kernel module is distributed alone and the distributor never distributes the kernel against which it was compiled, then there is no problem. But someone who distributes the kernel must also distribute the source to all binary kernel modules he distributes with it, because distributing the kernel requires acceptance of the kernel's license. According to the GPL, a module which is compiled to be linked into the kernel is a derivative work and thus must also be licensed under the GPL. There you go, this is the reason why Linux distributions don't include proprietary kernel modules and make you get them from the internet instead.
  • Re:No other options. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jacek Poplawski (223457) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:39PM (#15331242)
    ATI and NVidia basically have the market for aftermarket cards cornered, to the best of my knowledge, and in both cases their drivers are closed-source.

    I use Radeon 9800 Pro with DRI, driver is not perfect, but it works.
    There is no closed source software in my kernel and I use OpenGL a lot.
  • A counter-argument (Score:5, Informative)

    by xenocide2 (231786) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:43PM (#15331252) Homepage
    Does anyone besides open source zealots care about open drivers? I think so. Perhaps if Nvidia and ATi had open sourced their drivers, Xgl wouldn't have taken so long to exist (Xgl requires a certain level of driver support, and aiglx even more so). I'm pretty sure you'd have liked this just as much 4 years ago, when I first saw people talking about things like openGL accellerated gtk widgets, and otherwise imagining how to use 3d to its best. But 4 years ago, you were writing off a large group of people by doing that.

    Furthermore, installing drivers for your ethernet, cd drive, etc is very simple on linux, because the drivers are open source and in kernel. Attempting to maintain a glue between the kernel and your driver is painful and prone to failure; unlike in tree drivers, when someone else breaks code you depended on, you have to fix it, not them. Recall that nvidia's nforce2 boards are better supported in the kernel than by nVidia itself! With no documents to support them in their efforts, even. I hear they even now recommend the reverse engineered driver over their own, but don't distribute or improve, oddly. If nvidia's drivers were GPL'd, installing them would be as simple as installing anything else.

    It's pretty naive to think that their IP is so valuable that the source code would disclose it any more than the underlying binary code does. Their IP is already in jeopardy by distributing the software. One of the many reasons I suspect they have no intention of participating in OSS is that there's a number of speed over quality decisions written into it that would be exposed, perhaps even application specific optimizations. While this could be neat to have optimized drivers on a per game basis, this is never disclosed to the public (and when revealed sparks not applause but public humiliation). Furthermore, it means that optimizations are done on their terms, not the public's. Any application specific optimizations are given only to a specific application, with no cross over improvement in other applications, or the ability to make the change. If NVIDIA really wanted to share their drivers with the public and gain all the benefits often touted, they'd stop pointing at other people's IP they own and begin to change it. They haven't, and they won't. What nefarious secrets lie within? Perhaps just a case of "this stuff is really hard, and we don't do it very well?"

    Just a thought -- if you dislike the open source spirit as embodied by the GPL, why not do something productive about it, like make a liveCD based on BSD running Xgl. There's nvidia drivers for BSD too, ya know. And for all the talk about pressuring vendors to open their code, they have no qualms about giving it away reguardless with no expectation of anything in return. Linux needs to focus on being Linux, not beating Redmond.

    The good news is that I suspect the person who wrote to Kororaa doesn't actually have any basis for the claim. While nvidia's legality has been on shady grounds, the message published doesn't provide any insightful evidence in either direction. Anyone seriously familiar with the kernel and binary objects should be familiar with the recurring arguments and whatnot. It's clear to me that if the drivers themselves were in violation, nvidia would have been sued some time ago.
  • Re:tainted kernel (Score:5, Informative)

    by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:49PM (#15331289) Homepage Journal

    So don't autoload the drivers and the kernel will not load with a tainted status.

    That doesn't make any difference.

    Copyright law prohibits the creation of derived works without permission, and the GPL does not grant that permission unless you distribute source. So the question boils down to "Are the binary-only modules derivative works under the law?".

    The answer is: yes and no. The modules come from ATI and NVidia in two parts: a binary-only part that contains all of the interesting code, and some "glue code" that is distributed in source. Both parts have liberal redistribution permissions, which makes the GPL happy, so the big issue is source.

    The argument is that the core, binary-only components of their drivers are not derived works of Linux, since they contain no Linux code (not even any headers) and I think they even claim that the same binaries are used on other platforms and wasn't developed specifically for Linux, at least in the beginning. The glue code that they distribute that wraps the binary-only component is clearly a derived work of Linux, but they distribute the source to that.

    When a user compiles the glue code and links it with the binary-only component to produce a kernel module, the result is a derived work of the GPL'd Linux kernel. Note that I didn't say "and loads it into a running kernel". That's not really relevant. Technically, it's somewhat unclear whether the GPL gives users the right to create otherwise unauthorized derived works, but the general interpretation (including by the FSF) is that people can do whatever they like, and it's only when they start distributing that the question of whether or not the GPL has granted them permission becomes important.

    When someone takes that same compiled glue plus binary module and distributes them, they're distributing a derived work of Linux, without complying with the terms of the GPL, and therefore without permission to distribute under copyright law.

    I think it's quite clear that Kororaa cannot do this without infringing Linux copyrights. The only way they can justify it is if they can argue that the binary kernel modules (glue + core binaries) are not, under the law, derived works of Linux. That seems like a tough one, but IANAL, so maybe it's possible.

  • Intel (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:58PM (#15331309) Homepage
    Intel publishes open source drivers for their latest integrated video chipsets.

    While people may report that some Matrox or ATI cards work fine with open source drivers, those are all old, discontinued cards. If you want to buy new hardware, Intel is basically your only choice for open source drivers.
  • by Morgaine (4316) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:12PM (#15331347)
    >> Does Matrox or Intel release source code to their drivers? (Is Matrox even still in the consumer graphics card business?)

    Yes, Matrox is still in the business, but they're not really competing directly against nVidia and ATI in the games market -- for example, they provide no hardware vertex or pixel shaders in their consumer cards. And yes, Matrox does release driver source code.

    I recently bought a Matrox Millennium G550 PCIe [matrox.com], and not only does it list Linux on the retail box alongside the other operating systems, but their product page proclaims it as "the world's first PCI Express graphics card with open-source display drivers for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems". And they're quite inexpensive too, which is nice.

    The drivers are in recent kernels already too, although I'm getting "drmOpenDevice: Open failed" problems at the moment so DRI is being disabled and thus 3D isn't accelerated on that box just now. I hope it's just a local misconfiguration.

    Not really sure what the status is beyond that, but in theory the G550 should have good support in Linux without needing any binary modules.
  • Go Matrox! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tracy Reed (3563) <treed&ultraviolet,org> on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:50PM (#15331473) Homepage
    Matrox is definitely still in the graphics card business. I have a Matrox dual-head card in my home machine and in my work machine. They open source their drivers. X works perfectly with no proprietary drivers needed.
  • Re:tainted kernel (Score:3, Informative)

    by dhasenan (758719) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @08:10PM (#15331533)
    Great. I'll just inform these people [openoffice.org] that they should stop offering GPL'd stuff based on a system with a non-GPL license [slashdot.org].

    Now. The question of whether they can be distributed together, not just run together, is addressed in section 3 of the GPL. Briefly, it states that you must make the source available to any GPL binaries you distribute. Since the GPL binaries in question are the kernel and just about everything besides the nVidia/ATi drivers, you need to have the source for those available. Since those drivers aren't GPL, you don't have to have the source for the drivers available.

    The GPL says nothing about whatever else you want to distribute with your distribution.
  • by Cid Highwind (9258) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @08:33PM (#15331599) Homepage
    After the shim is compiled, it is linked with the binary-only portion, to produce the final NVIDIA kernel module.

    And there lies the problem. The shim is a derived work of the kernel (or that's the anonymous complainer's position anyway), the binary-only portion contains un-GPL-able code, and the final driver contains both. They can compile and use the finished driver on their own machines, but can't distribute it without violating the GPL.
  • Re:What a prick (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chops (168851) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @09:09PM (#15331714)
    People choose the GPL over the BSD license because it fosters better software by keeping the codebase free and available. That is a pragmatic benefit of the GPL.

    People choose the GPL for all sorts of reasons. Some kernel developers like the GPL because they want the kernel, including hardware drivers, to remain free software. They're actively opposed to the idea of binary-only drivers proliferating, even if it means more hardware support for Linux. Did you happen to read the link I gave you?

    It'd be incredibly arrogant to say that these closed source drivers are no more than "improvements" to some kernel module interface code.

    The issue isn't whether it's arrogant to say that; the issue is whether or not it's legal to distribute the NVidia driver with the Linux kernel. My personal opinion is that it is legal, actually, but treating the whole issue as "licensing crap" is wrong. It's like a child complaining about having to eat dinner before having cookies. "But I like cookies! Why can't I just have cookies?"

    I know you like hardware support. I like cookies. It's not that simple, though, and saying "stop worrying and eat cookies" doesn't make it that simple. You should think about why Linux is so much better and more successful than its non-GPLed competitors, and why Linus said that relicensing Linux under the GPL was the best thing he ever did.

    And even if there was a case in all of this, it'd be the case of one man's (RMS) hatred of closed source software, and it would have exactly zero to do with creating quality free code. So like I said, stop worrying about this licensing crap, and get back to worrying about writing better software.

    Why do you think it's just RMS, and that everybody who choosed to use his license actually doesn't agree with most of what it's supposed to mean? Where did you get that idea?

    You really should read that link I included. Here, I'll include it again:

    http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=2006 0424164142296 [groklaw.net]

    I'll even save you some clicking: Some kernel developers (Arjan van de Ven and Andrea Arcangeli) are very concerned about the popularity of binary kernel drivers, and see it possibly eroding Linux's freeness, and interfering with the process of kernel development even for those not using the binary drivers. That's the opinion of people who are heavily involved in kernel development. You say it has "exactly zero to do with creating quality free code"; why do you think you know better than they do?
  • Re:Whaaa? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrsbrisby (60242) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @10:04PM (#15331965) Homepage
    Where is this violation of GPL that you are talking about?

    There is no script. That's the problem. They're linking the binary modules themselves and distributing those.

    If someone adds this software that I provide (the binary, the extra interface file and the script) to their favorite OS distribution of the month, which happens to be GPLed, are they in violation of the license, when they distribute a disk with the OS and my code?

    That depends. Everyone likes fictional examples because it's easier to point out gray area, but it almost always misses some critical component of what's happening out here, in reality.

    In this case, they're not adding the software that you provide (and presumably allow redistribution of), but instead, running the script, and taking the output and redistributing THAT. In this case, yes, they have committed a copyright violation, and since in this case, that thing is GPL, they are also committing a GPL violation.

    In other cases? Well, you didn't explicitly say you allow redistribution, and while I assumed it for the above argument, now I won't, and yes, the person redistributing your program is in copyright violation- yours.

    I find it's easier to think of binary-only drivers as patches, because it's very well understood (and tested) how patches work. Your patches can be distributed separately- and easily- just as NVidia and ATI distribute their own patches.

    Anyone can apply your patches, and if you so allow- those patches can even be redistributed.

    But: nobody can take the thing you patch, apply the patch, and redistribute the result. You don't have the right to do it - the copyright owner of the patch, and Linus doesn't have the right to do it- the copyright owner of Linux (well, one of many).
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Sunday May 14, 2006 @11:35PM (#15332305)
    If you think you can convince department managers of ATi to give funding to the linux side of operations, go for it, but I think that is somehow unlikely.
    Funding is irrelevant. ATi's "Linux department" doesn't need funding. In fact, it doesn't even need to exist at all!

    All ATi needs to do is release enough specs that we can write our own damn driver without having to waste time reverse-engineering the thing!
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday May 15, 2006 @12:32AM (#15332511)
    However, there are a significant number of people like me who really just want to be able to apt-get Java and precompiled drivers... I understand not bundling a complete distro with that stuff, but what's so bad about providing an automatic way to taint your kernel?
    Ever wonder why there's no apt-get for Windows? The answer is, because it's proprietary!

    You can't apt-get Java because Sun won't let you, because you have to click through an EULA on their website. By law, this process cannot be automated, so apt-get can't legally be programmed to do it. Every other piece of proprietary software is the same way (which is what "proprietary" means). Therefore, proprietary software can not be "apt-getted" by definition.

    In fact, I'm suprised Nvidia and ATi aren't going after these Kororaa people, because as far as I know, they don't allow this kind of thing either!
  • by dr0n3 (47107) on Monday May 15, 2006 @05:46AM (#15333187)
    "Sadly, all of their products that I looked at seem to have this limitation (unless you go dual-dvi -- and then you lose dual-headed operation)."

    That's not at all true, unless you mean just the cards in the G550 line....most if not all Matrox cards beyond the G550 have support for up to 1920x1200 in DVI. There's a parhelia card that even supports those 9MP LCD's at 3840 x 2400. And one of them was also designed to work with the apple 30 inch display. I installed a P750 for a client who had just gotten a dell 24" display and I had it hooked up at 1920x1200 dvi and used his older 1280x1024 LCD in dual head on the other DVI port. This card apparently supports 3 monitors. Driver source for linux is available on these cards also, not just the G550.

  • by Znork (31774) on Monday May 15, 2006 @06:11AM (#15333216)
    "How am I supposed to know what the GPL means by linking if its not in technical terms?"

    The GPL is not a contract, it's a permission slip for doing things when you would otherwise run afoul of copyright law. From the GPL's point of view there is no grey area; you're not allowed to create derived works containing GPL code without the whole derived work being distributable under the terms of the GPL. Period.

    The only question becomes wether the GPL applies at all, and that grey area is entirely within copyright law itself. It wouldnt be a fight about what the GPL means, it'd be a fight about wether you were allowed to mix two copyrighted works together and distribute them without permission from the copyright holders.

    And take a wild guess how that one would work out.

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