[linux-elitists] ultra 20 m2

Sloan joe@tmsusa.com
Thu Jul 12 11:14:11 PDT 2007

Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Sloan (joe@tmsusa.com):
>> While the nvidia drivers do indeed seem to be against the wishes of
>> some
> Those "some" would be -- to be specific -- relevant copyright owners. 
> Please pardon the interruption of your weasel-wording:  You're doing
> just fine.  Pray do continue with the transparent rationalising, please.
> It's quality entertainment.
Glad to oblige.

>> ... the charge that it violates the license seems open to
>> interpretation IMHO.
> Nvidia's interpretation seems guided by Upton Sinclair's Principle (as
> recounted in Al Gore's recent flick):  "It's hard to understand
> something when your paycheck depends on your not understanding it."
> Me, I'd be utterly astonished if, upon judicial examination, Nvidia's
> proprietary kernel driver didn't get ruled to clearly borrow more than
> sufficient of Linux's copyrightable elements to be a derivative work.
> It's quite difficult to imagine it not being.
> Perhaps you mean "The charge is contested by people who either don't
> understand copyright law or are paid to behave that way."
Admittedly I'm a techie, not a lawyer, so my view of the situation may
differ from yours. So, you're a lawyer then, or at least have a good
understanding of copyright law? If so, please humor this poor geek and
help me understand something - if the nvidia driver is a derivative of
the linux kernel, how can I reconcile that idea with the existence of
the solaris, freebsd and windoze drivers? IIUC the windoze drivers
predate the linux ones by some years.
>> Of course, if we were all good little citizens, we'd probably be
>> running windoze anyway, because that's what the man says you gotta
>> use.
> Save us the cheap collegiate nihilism.
>> It's certainly not *my* intention to piss off the kernel developers. Far
>> from it. But on desktop machines which are equipped with nvidia
>> graphics, I run the nvidia drivers for the same reason I run linux: I'm
>> desirous of excellence [...]
> ITYM "unfixable, undiagnosable bugs that have been so severe that they
> inspired invention and deployment of the taint flag".  HTH.
Were I ever to discover that said drivers had any negative impact on the
reliability of my systems, said drivers would be banned, end of story.
Admittedly, I don't run those drivers on servers, but it's worth noting
that my desktops have *only* suffered crashes with GPL'd 3D video
drivers, in particular, the radeon.

Of course, that's only counting 5-7 years of experience with accelerated
3D on a dozen or so linux boxes using various graphics cards, so my
sample size may not pass the test of statistical rigor.
> Random link propagation, mostly unrelated but of possible interest:
> http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/lexicon.html#selfs-law
> (Arguable connection resides in the linked Vodaphone Greece story,
> involving invisible security vulnerabilities in a critical proprietary 
> software system.)
Thanks, I'll investigate that reference -


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