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Alan Cox to NVIDIA: You Can't Use DMA-BUF

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the gauntlet-has-been-thrown dept.

Linux 946

DMA-BUF is a recent kernel feature that allows multiple GPUs to quickly copy data into each others' framebuffers. A use case would be the NVIDIA Optimus that pairs a fast GPU with an Intel integrated GPU, where the NVIDIA GPU writes into the Intel framebuffer when it is active. But, NVIDIA won't be able to use this infrastructure because it's GPL. Alan Cox replied on LKML to a request from one of their engineers to mark the API non-GPL: "NAK. This needs at the very least the approval of all rights holders for the files concerned and all code exposed by this change. Also I'd note if you are trying to do this for the purpose of combining it with proprietary code then you are still in my view as a (and the view of many other) rights holder to the kernel likely to be in breach of the GPL requirements for a derivative work. You may consider that formal notification of my viewpoint. Your corporate legal team can explain to you why the fact you are now aware of my view is important to them." The rest of the thread is worth a read (a guy from RedHat agrees that this code is GPL and cannot become non-GPL without relicensing from a major subset of graphics system contributors). This has a ripple effect: it means that all of the ARM SoC GPU drivers can't use it either, and it may prevent any proprietary drivers for the proposed DRI version 3.

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So? (-1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 2 years ago | (#41622267)

Re-implement the concept with new code. Only way to block it is with a software patent, and aren't FOSS types against software patents?

It would still become a derived work of the kernel (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622309)

And, as such, forbidden under copyright laws in, for example, the USA or EU.

The only way to avoid that would be to write your own kernel to ACT like (at an ABI level) the Linux Kernel.

If you do not like this, then please get in touch with your legislative branch and ask them to change the copyright laws.

What Cox is saying... (5, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#41622405)

Actually, he's telling them that they can use DMA-BUF in their video drivers. And so can anyone else, provided those drivers are released under GPL.

Re:What Cox is saying... (3, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#41622655)

Actually, he's telling them that they can use DMA-BUF in their video drivers. And so can anyone else, provided those drivers are released under GPL.

Which requires that everything *else* in the driver be compatible with the GPL. Which...they aren't. So they can't.

Re:It would still become a derived work of the ker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622435)

No it isn't. Copyright covers a specific expression of an idea. If I write my own code that does exactly what yours does, it does NOT violate your copyright in any way!

Yes it is. Read what derived works are. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622497)

If I were to write fanfic for Harry Potter, this is considered a derived work, even though Rowling has only copyright on a specific expression of an idea.

Even though I may have written 80% or more of the words myself, my "Harry Potter and the Mixed Blood Prince" will never be allowed on sale.

If you want to include your code running in the kernel, you are making a derived work of that kernel and this is not allowed except by license of the copyright owners. Even if your additions are your own work entirely, the combination you want to produce is not.

Re:So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622327)

Us FOSS types are against greedy cheaters using our work for their profit, while not sharing theirs, with the community for non-profit purposes.

Re:So? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622373)

And this is why graphics support will always be a third class citizen on linux.
Congratz!

Us Orthodox Stallmanites (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622429)

There, fixed it for you.

Re:So? (1)

OldKingCole (2672649) | about 2 years ago | (#41622587)

So you get incompatible interfaces doing the same job, these interfaces will probably be closed source making a hell as every vendor will end up implementing his own version

And this is why (0, Troll)

oPless (63249) | about 2 years ago | (#41622297)

The GPL is a bad thing.

Not because it's viral, because it's become much worse. A religion, and alas religions have their fanatics.

APIs GPL only? Seriously guys, WHAT THE FUCK?

Re:And this is why (4, Insightful)

justforgetme (1814588) | about 2 years ago | (#41622337)

If it leads to vendor GPU drivers being developed in the open then I'm in!

Why were you upset again?

Re:And this is why (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622431)

They simply won't use it at all, and thus graphics support on linux lags further and further behind.
Grats on the ideological win though!

Re:And this is why (5, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | about 2 years ago | (#41622493)

And if it leads hardware vendors to avoid writing sophisticated drivers for Linux (a far more likely outcome), what then?

Why would nvidia want to deal with fanatics like this when they can just ignore them?

Re:And this is why (4, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41622597)

Apparently they think it is worth it, as they have been doing it for a while. It is all a matter of who has the power. The tech company that wants the market or the consumers. In this case it is the consumers (or fanatics if you prefer).

Bowing to the will of tech companies is the best way to have very disgusting stuff pushed into your throat.

Re:And this is why (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622507)

If it leads to vendor GPU drivers being developed in the open then I'm in!

Spoilers: It wont.

Re:And this is why (3, Insightful)

irwiss (1122399) | about 2 years ago | (#41622511)

ATI driver being open is the reason it's so stable and leaves nvidia in the dust performance wise, right? Oh wait

Re:And this is why (5, Informative)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about 2 years ago | (#41622733)

The Intel drivers are a better example: they are rock solid, Intel has contributed tons toward advancing the graphics stack, etc. AMD has maintained a split development effort: hiring external companies and providing some docs for the Free drivers, all the while putting their main development effort into their proprietary FGLRX driver. I suspect that's the real reason their drivers are kind of crap.

Re:And this is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622523)

Remind me again, why is Linux not taking off on the Desktop ...?

Keep on dreaming...

Re:And this is why (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41622527)

If it leads to vendor GPU drivers being developed in the open then I'm in!

Why were you upset again?

...because it won't, and never will, and because this is the Linux community attempting to force Nvidia to develop open-source drivers, which is just about the exact opposite of freedom. Or at least, that is what it looks like to me (hard to say, since IANAL nor do I work on the Linux kernel), and therefore is what it will look like to a lot of people. And it's why graphics on Linux sucks, forcing people to use Windows instead.

Linux's greatest enemy is quite often itself. Which is fine, if you only ever want to use it on a server... but if you want it to be a serious competitor to Windows, it won't be. Ever. There will never be a "year of Linux on the desktop", not so long as these kinds of restrictions exist.

Re:And this is why (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622545)

It won't. It will lead to shittier drivers for Linux. Not that I care, I don't let the crap anywhere near my machines.

Re:And this is why (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622559)

This won't lead to open better open source drivers. This will lead to less useful closed source drivers and even less functional open source drivers

Re:And this is why (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41622339)

No, this is why it's GOOD, and why many developers, myself included, will not work on non-GPL projects. Without the GPL, they would have taken this code and added it to their proprietary code bases and we'd never have seen future improvements of it. That's not a good thing, ever.

Re:And this is why (5, Insightful)

D. Taylor (53947) | about 2 years ago | (#41622485)

No, they would have called this API from their proprietary binary blob drivers, not copied or modified the code implementing it.

Re:And this is why (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622341)

Its not an external API like google maps or what not, its an internal kernel interface that video drivers that are running inside the kernel would use.

Re:And this is why (0)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#41622343)

As far as i know, the interface of an API is not subject to copyright and is therefore not subject to the GPL or any other proprietary licensing agreement. Sun lost that lawsuit. If all they do is call the api in the kernel, they have not violated the GPL. They would have to copy the implementation of the api in order to infringe.

Re:And this is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622387)

Yep. the *use* of an API interface has never been the subject of a successful copyright suit. In fact to the best of my knowledge, it's only been the subject of *one* copyright suite, and that one was unsuccessful.

Re:And this is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622407)

Sadly not :)

GPL infringement happens when you have a non-GPL compat app accessing memory of another -- which is why linking dynamically against GPL is no-go (needs LGPL). Passing data-structures is historically a problematic area.

Re:And this is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622449)

As far as I understand it, this is not an "interface" in the sense of header files. It's an interface to a particular hardware I/O use-case and is implemented in the kernel in real, compiled, C code. It's much like how the socket code in the kernel is an "interface" for user applications to use network hardware. While sys/socket.h might not be copyrightable, the underlying implementation in the kernel is.

I'm pretty sure this makes it subject to the GPL. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:And this is why (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#41622753)

Underlying implementations of Java were also copyrightable. Didn't change the fact that the interface is not.

They are changing Linux into what it's critics charged it with being. A virus.

Soon any application that calls any Kernel function will 'have to be GPL'.

Watch BSD become the open source gaming platform. Will it be the year for BSD on the desktop soon?

Re:And this is why (2)

mSparks43 (757109) | about 2 years ago | (#41622351)

APIs GPL only? Seriously guys, WHAT THE FUCK?

No, they were asking to include the code - or some derivative of it in their proprietary driver.

If they just wanted to interface the API there would be no need to mark it non-GPL.

Re:And this is why (4, Insightful)

D. Taylor (53947) | about 2 years ago | (#41622601)

That is not correct. If the symbol is marked EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL then only GPL-licenced modules can use that symbol (i.e. call the API). They are already unable to include the code in their proprietary driver, as the code is released under the GPL which already prohibits them copying the code into a non-GPL-compatible codebase.

Re:And this is why (1)

pipatron (966506) | about 2 years ago | (#41622353)

Yes. It is a tool, used to coerce big business to give the user information about the product they buy.

There are a few other major operating system vendors out there that would be happy to have you as a customer if you don't like the GPL way.

Re:And this is why (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41622359)

Nvidia are the bad guys here, not Alax Cox nor the GPL.

But I'm torn because Nvidia is the only great solution for 3d on Linux right now. So my pragmatic self is screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Intel Ivy Bridge stuff is pretty awesome though, I use it more than the dedicated Nvidia gpu on my Clevo. I'm really hoping the next iteration of Intel GPUs makes dedicated support obsolete but it's just a dream ;).

Re:And this is why (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622409)

Why is it so important to Nvidia and the other hardware people to keep their software propietary?
Copyright is for stuff that can be easily copied.
They're selling cards, not code!

Re:And this is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622471)

Because they include a lot of patented stuff (including algorithms) in their hardware that would be exposed if the full source code for the drivers was available, and they legally are not allowed to permit that.

The patents don't disappear when you show code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622643)

So therefore why are these purported patents a reason not to open the SOURCE CODE (not patents, though you should have no problem GPLing the patents: if you wanted to use it without opening your own driver, which they don't have to being the patent owner, then you have to GPL your stuff too, and you get to mooch of that stuff too)?

Patented algorithms remain patented algorithms even if you show the code that implements it.

Re:The patents don't disappear when you show code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622693)

Patented algorithms remain patented algorithms even if you show the code that implements it.

Exactly. The word patent means something like "visible". The patent itself gives the details of the invention, so it's not some kind of secret.

Re:The patents don't disappear when you show code (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41622759)

It's an interesting idea.

If Nvidia was forced to either reveal their "trade secrets" (i.e. IP that is valuable but not patentable) or not sell products in the Linux, or more importantly, Android Linux ecosystem.

I wonder if they'd find a way to open source them at that point? I bet they would.

Before Android, Linux didn't really have a big club to beat Nvidia with. If Linux et al went after them for infringement, Nvidia could just take their ball home and it'd be a much bigger loss for the Linux community than Nvidia.

But now with mobile being so important, could Android be used to force Nvidia to stop being douche bags and open up? Could it be that fiscal club of smiting?

Re:And this is why (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41622479)

I agree but ultimately I want good 3d acceleration even if that means douche bags like Nvidia skate the license requirements.

Re:And this is why (3, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 years ago | (#41622633)

If you want good 3d acceleration, then write the code yourself. Isn't that the Linux mantra, "You can always write your own code."?

Wait, you're not a developer? You can't code? Awww, sucks to be you.

Now you know how everyone else feels who tries to use Linux to get something to work and is told either to roll their own code or RTFM.

If this is to become "The Year of the Linux!"*, the folks managing the packages need to make some hard decisions on how to proceed, otherwise this situation will keep coming up over and over.

* From Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel. Similar to saying, using these here internets.

Re:And this is why (1)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about 2 years ago | (#41622475)

Intel IGPs won't ever be fit for gaming, so dedicated GPUs are always going to be around. If all you need is day to day surfing/productivity, having a dedicated GPU is pointless.

Re:And this is why (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41622563)

The Ivy Bridge GPUs are pretty serious.

Re:And this is why (1)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about 2 years ago | (#41622767)

Compared to a GTX560+/650+ or HD5770+/6750+/7000+, they're not. The only good thing about the Ivy Bridge IGPs is it means you don't need dedicated video for HTPCs. You'll still need dedicated graphics for gaming. Keep in mind, there are a few games out now that make a GTX460 the minimum to play. Playing these new games at their lowest settings and 25FPS isn't exactly fun.

Re:And this is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622367)

The GPL is a good thing.

Play nice or get out of the sand pit.

Re:And this is why (1)

faragon (789704) | about 2 years ago | (#41622375)

It is THE LAW. </Dredd>

The API isn't GPL. Using the kernel code is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622381)

And under the definition of what constitudes a derived work for software in USA and many other locations, this would be a derived work of the GPL kernel.

As to "WHAT THE FUCK?", the fuck is copyright and derived works definition for software.

Re:And this is why (0)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41622389)

While kinda douchy, it is well within their right to put restrictions on who can interface with their code. It is still a better deal then closed source authors will give you, though not as good as the more open OSS ones.

Re:And this is why (2)

RocketScientist (15198) | about 2 years ago | (#41622397)

Exactly what's the impact-level difference between the GPL and software patents then?

Oh yeah, patents expire, and copyright doesn't. Gotcha.

Great PR here guys.

Re:And this is why (1)

Night64 (1175319) | about 2 years ago | (#41622461)

My code, my rules. Don't like it? Well, make your own code then, but do not use mine!

Re:And this is why (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41622585)

APIs GPL only? Seriously guys, WHAT THE FUCK?

I thought Oracle v. Google said APIs weren't copyrightable. As such, GPL-only APIs make no sense because the API can't be copyrighted to begin with.

Since the GPL requires copyright to work, and APIs are not copyrightable, there should be no such thing.

Can't really have it both ways - can't have GPL-only APIs here, and have Java APIs that are completely uncopyrightable Which is it - APIs are copyrightable (and thus can be GPL-enforcable), in which case Oracle was right, or APIs are not copyrightable (and GPL is not enforcable since copyright defaults don't exist), and Google/Android is right?

One of the thorny aspects of the Oracle v. Google.

While the ideal use-case would be to force graphics drivers to be open, the unintended side effect may be that drivers don't use the API, and instead reimplement their own versions if they need it, or just put up with lousier graphics performance, neither of which do any good for Linux (or Android). Or graphics moves into user space.

Re:And this is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622649)

If you want Nvidia to be able to exploit the hard work you put in to any code you write you are more than welcome to license it accordingly.

Re:And this is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622691)

Remind us how this is different from nVidia's control of their patented/copyrighted/secret stuff.

Are their company lawyers religious fanatics?

This is why I suggest BSD (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622323)

Seriously. Freedom and GPL are two very, very different things. No matter how much you try to turn and twist it around, freedom never comes with a "but".

add.: captcha is "harmless" - oh, the irony.

Re:This is why I suggest BSD (4, Insightful)

Ignacio (1465) | about 2 years ago | (#41622451)

Okay, so it's not freedom then. It's quasi-freedom. But at least no one has the freedom to take my quasi-freedom away. If they want in then they have to add to the pool of quasi-freedom instead of taking anything away.

Re:This is why I suggest BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622549)

Question: If something is under BSD license and someone adds to it and closes it off, how is something taken away?

Re:This is why I suggest BSD (2, Insightful)

Patch86 (1465427) | about 2 years ago | (#41622539)

If this were BSD, Alan Cox would have had his hard work stolen from him against his will, and he wouldn't have been able to do anything about it. Nvidia could have taken his code and released it in their binary blobs, and he'd never see any benefit from it again.

So why is that a reason for him to go BSD instead of GPL?

Sigh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622325)

Thus, continuing to push Linux into irrelevance. You whine that the Graphics chip maker need to provide better support for Linux, but it's the wrong kind of support.

yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622347)

I wan't free drivers for my gfx, dammit!

Also in a more intellectual note: this sets the line for all the android gfx drivers. They may have shoot the gnu in usermode but the can't shoot the gnu in the kernel...
and thats a good thing! I mean the WLAN problem has been nearly solved so gfx drivers is the last thing where linux is behind.

How to (not) get people to use your OS... (3, Insightful)

quasius (1075773) | about 2 years ago | (#41622363)

Well, I guess that's yet another way to make sure Linux stays niche in desktop use forever.

Re:How to (not) get people to use your OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622635)

That's exactly where it belongs too.

Re:How to (not) get people to use your OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622659)

Well, I guess that's yet another way to make sure Linux stays niche in desktop use forever.

I might be wrong, but wouldn't this feature be very useful for general purpose computing on GPU? And that is in a huge demand by any parallelizable server farms / cloud. Think genetics and finance firms would very much want that, and they are already mostly on linux servers. So my guess is that it might push firms to open up their drivers a bit more... Just a hope i guess.

Honest Question (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622369)

As AC since I'm sure this will garner much hate, but this is honest speculation with the intent of stoking real discussion:

1. NVIDIA and Intel want to use a new whiz-bang feature in the Linux kernel to bring faster and more feature-rich graphics to Linux. This is a good thing, a very good thing.
2. The current licensing in the kernel makes that impossible unless NVIDIA open sources its IP. Whether this is good is questionable because:
        a. It means NVIDIA has to give up a competitive edge OR
        b. NVIDIA has to write code and implement hardware in a manner that specifically prevents them from having a competitive edge.
3. NVIDIA's only other option is massive duplication of effort and a fork of the Linux kernel. This is a questionable premise.

So, given that NVIDIA's choice is to give up a competitive edge or to intentionally implement its feature set in an obstructionist manner, how is the GPL "good" in this case?

Re:Honest Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622613)

It prevent Linux to become what Unix did, with each vendor doing their own incompatible version of it.

Re:Honest Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622627)

The problem is you assume that their code gives them a competitive edge. They are a hardware company who gives away their drivers for free... open sourcing them isn't going to lose them anything.

Re:Honest Question (4, Funny)

faragon (789704) | about 2 years ago | (#41622645)

So, given that NVIDIA's choice is to give up a competitive edge or to intentionally implement its feature set in an obstructionist manner, how is the GPL "good" in this case?

Because it is THE LAW. </Dredd>

Re:Honest Question (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622681)

I appreciate how you used the term "competitive edge" three times in such a short post. Oh, wait, no, I meant "I am nauseated by how". Don't they teach marketing shills anything in terms of subtlety any more?

Anyway, you seem to be asserting that Nvidia's "competitive edge" is completely software-related. As in, the hardware — the actual graphics-computing stuff they sell, mind you — is somehow less important than the exact underpinnings of the drivers. This is an assertion that makes no sense to kernel developers. The drivers are just there to provide a way for the OS to communicate with the hardware. The hardware is supposed to be the magical part here.

In my opinion, the ridiculously secretive nature of Nvidia, especially in the face of their major competitors opening up their drivers, is highly suspicious. After all, I thought they sold video cards, not drivers. It makes me think they're hiding Bad Things(tm) in the drivers. Unlicensed IP, perhaps? Evidence that their "value" models of video cards are actually the "premium" cards with drivers that shut down certain features? Crappy code? Or maybe just a behind-the-times product manager?

Re:Honest Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622743)

4. Won't do it as they'll lose their backdoor and can never try to slip it through open source drivers...

One more bullet on proprietary drivers (5, Insightful)

Pope Raymond Lama (57277) | about 2 years ago | (#41622377)

They woul dhave a bad time coming along anyway, since they can't be compatible with the secure boot (UEFI) way of working (workaround if one prefers), that is being adopted by major distributions: all Kernel level code, and X11 code, will have to be signed to work out of the box in a UEFI restricted boot environment. And any distro that would sign binary code coming from NVIDIA or whoever else would be mad.

It may be we get some months across a new "no working 3d drivers" dark ages on the Linux desktop, but one way or the other, the time for proprietary drivers is past.

Why is this supposed to be a good thing? (3, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41622379)

Am I missing something? Isn't this going to hurt Linux a lot more than it is going to hurt nVidia? Sure, it would be great if nVidia open-sourced their driver code, but it's pretty clear that this is not going to happen. What effect will this have other than to make Linux drivers for nVidia cards of inferior quality?

For Linux the religion, this is a triumph. For Linux the operating system, it is a major setback.

Re:Why is this supposed to be a good thing? (0)

jerpyro (926071) | about 2 years ago | (#41622555)

+1 to that.

For Linux the religion, this is a triumph. For Linux the operating system, it is a major setback.

Re:Why is this supposed to be a good thing? (4, Interesting)

pipatron (966506) | about 2 years ago | (#41622565)

So what, exactly, is linux to you? If you want a proprietary operating system with closed drivers, there are plenty. Bending over sideways for a paranoid corporation just to get high definition pornography in 3D on your notebook sounds like a real bad idea to me.

Re:Why is this supposed to be a good thing? (2)

Infernal Device (865066) | about 2 years ago | (#41622697)

So what, exactly, is linux to you? If you want a proprietary operating system with closed drivers, there are plenty. Bending over sideways for a paranoid corporation just to get high definition pornography in 3D on your notebook sounds like a real bad idea to me.

Depends on whether or not you want to further the mainstream adoption of Linux on the desktop by non-technical users.

Were I a corporation, this would be the point where I would determine that my development efforts for Linux have gone far enough until there is a high-enough percentage of usage to warrant further development.

Re:Why is this supposed to be a good thing? (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | about 2 years ago | (#41622717)

What if he wants an open operating system with proprietary drivers? And there's no need for this: "Bending over sideways for a paranoid corporation just to get high definition pornography in 3D on your notebook sounds like a real bad idea to me."

Re:Why is this supposed to be a good thing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622711)

You know, you could state the *exact* opposite. "For the nVidia proprietary driver religion, this is a triumph. For the nVidia market, it is a major setback."

Translation (2)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 2 years ago | (#41622383)

You may consider that formal notification of my viewpoint. Your corporate legal team can explain to you why the fact you are now aware of my view is important to them.

Translation: Go see your corp lawyers. FYI, you're about to get spanked.

Re:Translation (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#41622535)

Translation: Go see your corp lawyers. FYI, you're about to get spanked.

Slightly more neutral translation: now that you have been officially informed we will not be marking it as non-GPL, if you use it, you are in violation of copyright. And your having been told means you don't have a legal leg to stand on if you ignore this.

Oh, and, FYI, you're about to be spanked. ;-)

Nvidia rapes us (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622385)

So, binary modules are FINE, but now they're not??

Come on. Get real. Nvidia should have been shut the FUCK down a long time ago.

Purity vs Relevance (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622391)

This is why even RMS allowed a linking exception for GCC. The point here is that the GPL is supposed to encourage sharing, not make GPL environments irrelevant. They may be pure, but so is HURD. And HURD has no users. So what's the point. Interesting that BSD/Apache/MIT is all the rage these days.

patents (0)

T. Bombadil (302822) | about 2 years ago | (#41622395)

You better patent the technique now Alan before the system changes from first to discover to first to file. Nvidia could just patent it and then you wouldn't be able to use it either.

Face Reality: (4, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | about 2 years ago | (#41622401)

While Linus got lots of publicity for mouthing off at Nvidia over Optimus support, the truth is that X.org just recently released server 1.13 that has initial support for Optimus-like technologies and it would not have mattered one bit what license Nvidia used for its driver code.

The cold hard truth is: Nvidia isn't going to GPL its drivers and it couldn't do so even if it wanted to. Nvidia's developers *have* been trying to help out with adding code to the kernel for DMA-BUF that will be GPL and will help other pieces of hardware in addition to Nvidia hardware. There will probably have to be a compromise at some point on this even if the idealogical purists get their panties in a knot over it.

Re:Face Reality: (5, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#41622537)

Nvidia isn't going to GPL its drivers and it couldn't do so even if it wanted to.

Of course Nvidia could GPL its drivers. That "they can't do it" been said ever since the first proprietary Nvidia Linux driver, and back then it was blamed on non-specified technology licensed from SGI. SGI then stated publicly that they had absolutely no problem with their technology ending up in a GPL'd Linux driver.

It is just a pitiful excuse. Luckily, between "secure boot" and this, the excuse will not last much longer. Then it will be either GPL or nothing at all.

Yawn. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622411)

One of two things will happen.
1. This dude will get a check in the mail and he'll suddenly change his mind.
2. He'll mysteriously vanish.

Re:Yawn. (1)

pipatron (966506) | about 2 years ago | (#41622609)

Well, this is not really just "some dude". His disappearance will be noticed.

Bullshit They Can't! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622423)

Bullshit they can't use it! They can indeed use it. All they have to do is GPL their own code.

It's a two way street. You can't make it oneway simply because you're feeling selfish.

No way!! NVidia used GPL code?! (0)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#41622455)

Oh that's just precious. NVidia with their god-cursed optimus that will NEVER support Linux has used GPL code?

Okay, let's push for a settlement on the matter. Require them to build and support Optimus drivers for X.org and for that other thing which is X compatible but not X... the name escapes me but I'm sure a thousand people here know what I'm talking about.

With this, can we FINALLY get NVidia to the table on the issue of opening their drivers and/or important interface data so WE can write the drivers?

Hmmm... (4, Interesting)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | about 2 years ago | (#41622457)

Playing devil's Advocate here, as personally I agree with this (and don't let the proprietary nVidia driver anywhere near my system).
But just for kicks, how does the recent case of Oracle trying (and failing) to claim copyright on the Java APIs affect this.

If you cannot copyright an API, then you cannot apply a copyright license either.

What if nVidia challenged this with exactly the same arguments that Google used with Dalvik.

Re:Hmmm... (2)

jerpyro (926071) | about 2 years ago | (#41622575)

What if nVidia challenged this with exactly the same arguments that Google used with Dalvik.

It won't happen because it's not worth their effort. If I can get 95% of the market with 50% of the effort, that sounds like a good business decision to me.

Re:Hmmm... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622671)

You are getting muddled. The googVorc case was if oracle could copy right the API (that is, the list of function name, their hierarchy, intput/outputs) and prevent google from doing a clean room implementation that complies with their API. In this case, they are saying NVIDIA can't make an API call _into their code_ and ship proprietary bundles linked against their GPL library. NVIDIA could do a clean-room re-implementation of the kernel if they wanted to, but that is not what is going on here.

If you don't have the constraint that linking is derivative then the whole notion of copy-left is dead, as you can fully use any library in any application. The authors are giving you a license to use their code for free, they can put what ever restrictions on that license they want.

Re:Hmmm... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622763)

This isn't about just the interface, but the code in the kernel that does the stuff that is exposed/called through the interface. They're of course free to re-implement that on their own w/o using any GPL'd code - but it's a bit more work than a Hello World! ...

Thanks to AC and others (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622519)

for making it harder on companies that already support Linux for trying to get to feature parity with other platforms because of your stupid religion license. I'm sure many other companies are now re-examining their stand on future linux products and figuring out a way to move them either to the cloud or to the dust bin and just not bother with a pack of lunatics. Thanks guys it was mighty white of you to fuck with what we end users wanted because it hurt your feelings.

Stop posting development mailing list posts! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622529)

The problem is jackholes submitting mailing list posts to slashdot as if they're interesting news stores so all the armchair hackers on slashdot can harp on the issue like a herd of angry hobbits arguing about what to eat for breakfast.

You don't want to watch software being made just the same as you don't want to watch laws or sausages being made. If you really do want to get all the flame spam then be my guest and subscribe to the mailing list.

NVidia GPL kernel module (1)

GeLeTo (527660) | about 2 years ago | (#41622567)

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't NVidia have a small GPLed kernel module which communicates with the rest of the driver which is platform neutral (e.g. the same on Windows and Linux) and therefore not derivative work.
This is a bit of a gray area, but so far the Linux devs have not complained. So if NVidia exposes this functionality in their GPL kernel module in a platform-neutral way will that be ok?

Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622573)

Open source the bloody drivers. What's so difficult and/or damaging about that? Tradition says that drivers are closed and proprietary, but there's really no major threat these days of a hardware manufacturer gaining inside-knowledge from your driver source -- any realistic competitor on the ATI/NVIDIA level has probably already bought said inside knowledge from the Chinese firms responsible for actually manufacturing the hardware.

Open source your crap and be done with it. Problem addressed, and we can finally get decent graphics support in Linux.

What amazes me.. (0)

defsdoor (737019) | about 2 years ago | (#41622591)

Is that so many intelligent people have no idea how to sensibly quote email when replying....

The GPL Functioning as Designed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622593)

No Nvidia, you cannot take open source code and mark it as your own to then force people to pay you for it.

Nouveau? (2)

mynis01 (2448882) | about 2 years ago | (#41622631)

What I'm wondering is, since he came out and said the little bit about using DMA-BUF with the proprietary code, and NVIDIA is starting to share specs with the nouveau devs, do you think NVIDIA might be able to help make nouveau work a bit better with optimus?

Re:Nouveau? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41622751)

Mod this up! The nVidia blob needs to go away.

The easier solution. (1)

sidragon.net (1238654) | about 2 years ago | (#41622725)

NVIDIA stops developing the Linux driver.

hearts and minds (0)

farble1670 (803356) | about 2 years ago | (#41622739)

the way to get business to play nice with open source is not to throw at them what amounts to religious arguments. show them that contributing back to OSS is good for their bottom line. that's the only argument that will win.

if a company forks, there comes a point where getting the goodies from the main branch is prohibitively difficult. if they continuously integrate with the OSS project this isn't a problem. you win this by not making the processes painful for them and continuing to provide good stuff that they want from the OSS project.

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