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From: Greg KH <g...@kroah.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Free Linux Driver Development!
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 02:40:05 +0100
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Free Linux Driver Development!

Yes, that's right, the Linux kernel community is offering all companies
free Linux driver development.  No longer do you have to suffer through
all of the different examples in the Linux Device Driver Kit, or pick
through the thousands of example drivers in the Linux kernel source
tree trying to determine which one is the closest to what you need to
do.

All that is needed is some kind of specification that describes how your
device works, or the email address of an engineer that is willing to
answer questions every once in a while.  A few sample devices might be
good to have so that debugging doesn't have to be done by email, but if
necessary, that can be done.

In return, you will receive a complete and working Linux driver that is
added to the main Linux kernel source tree.  The driver will be written
by some of the members of the Linux kernel developer community (over
1500 strong and growing).  This driver will then be automatically
included in all Linux distributions, including the "enterprise" ones.
It will be automatically kept up to date and working through all Linux
kernel API changes.  This driver will work with all[1] of the different
CPU types supported by Linux, the largest number of CPU types supported
by any operating system ever before in the history of computing.

As for support, the driver will be supported through email by the
original developers, when they can help out, and by the "enterprise"
Linux distributors as part of their service agreements with their
customers.

If your company is worried about NDA issues surrounding your device's
specifications, we have arranged a program with OSDL/TLF's Tech Board to
provide the legal framework where a company can interact with a member
of the kernel community in order to properly assure that all needed NDA
requirements are fulfilled.

Now your developers will have more time to work on drivers for all of
the other operating systems out there, and you can add "supported on
Linux" to your product's marketing material.

This offer is in affect for all different types of devices, from USB
toys to PCI video devices to high-speed networking cards.  If you build
it, we can get Linux drivers working for it.

For any questions about this program, please feel free to respond to
this email, or contact me directly at g...@kroah.com.  I will also be
available at FreedomHEC 2007 <http://freedomhec.pbwiki.com/> held
adjacent to WinHEC, if anyone wants to bring devices and work
face-to-face.

thanks,

greg k-h

[1] for the CPUs that support the bus types that your device works on.
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From: "Nicolas Mailhot" <nicolas.mail...@laposte.net>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: Free Linux Driver Development!
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 14:10:12 +0100
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Hi,

I'd really love if the same offer was extended to GPL out-of-tree driver
trees.

There are many out-of-tree drivers (ivtv, lirc, various webcam drivers,
enhanced USB keyboard handlers...) with merging not planified or taking
ages.

The associated hardware is useful enough someone wrote a driver.
There is "documentation" in the form of a working driver.
Sometimes there are already many FLOSS apps writen that depend on them.

Yet they languish out-of-tree, effectively sterilizing alternative efforts
just because people know they exist. Someone wrote an howto on how to plug
them in an ancient kernel, and that's good enough to remove a lot of the
merging incentive.

The common wisdom seems to be their authors will hammer LKML hard enough
the driver will eventually be merged. But these authors:
- get set in their ways like any human being
- usually put new features first and merging last
- may have decided merging was too much work
- may be struggling to do it alone
- may have asked LKML about merging once, got ignored/refused (for good,
bad, or obsolete reasons), and decided to spend their time on more
constructive work

So there are many reasons why merging will not happen as things stand.

These drivers are in many ways every bit as harmful as closed binary blobs
(making users miserable, killing alternatives, being a major reason old
kernel binaries get used long after security problems were identified and
fixed, etc). Merging/reworking them is easier than starting from
incomplete NDAed documentation. If (as this offer implies) there are good
driver authors waiting to do more drivering, why aren't those a priority?

As a side effect, cleaning up our own GPL community mess would help
convince hardware manufacturers working within the main kernel is the
right workable solution.

Regards,

-- 
Nicolas Mailhot

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From: Greg KH <g...@kroah.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: Free Linux Driver Development!
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 21:20:06 +0100
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On Wed, Jan 31, 2007 at 02:06:32PM +0100, Nicolas Mailhot wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> I'd really love if the same offer was extended to GPL out-of-tree driver
> trees.

This kind of offer has _always_ been there for out-of-tree GPL drivers.
I have contacted many different groups and driver authors over the years
to offer my help in trying to get their code into the mainline kernel.

Some take me up on the offer, others ignore it, and still others activly
refuse to do so, saying they want to stay out-of-the tree (lirc is one
of these examples...)

> There are many out-of-tree drivers (ivtv, lirc, various webcam drivers,
> enhanced USB keyboard handlers...) with merging not planified or taking
> ages.

See my above comment about lirc.  As for the others, everyone knows
where we are at, and what the critera is for getting their code into the
tree, so it's not like we are hiding anywhere :)

But yes, if you wish to publicise the fact that we will gladly take any
currently out-of-the-tree drivers into mainline, as long as they follow
our rules and coding style issues, please do so.  But that wasn't the
main point to my post.

thanks,

greg k-h
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From: Theodore Tso <ty...@mit.edu>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: Free Linux Driver Development!
Date: Thu, 01 Feb 2007 00:10:10 +0100
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On Wed, Jan 31, 2007 at 12:12:58PM -0800, Greg KH wrote:
> 
> This kind of offer has _always_ been there for out-of-tree GPL drivers.
> I have contacted many different groups and driver authors over the years
> to offer my help in trying to get their code into the mainline kernel.
> 
> Some take me up on the offer, others ignore it, and still others activly
> refuse to do so, saying they want to stay out-of-the tree (lirc is one
> of these examples...)

I think the point is that if we are offering free development effort
to write a driver which goes into mainline, maybe we should provide
more than "providing rules and guidelines" so that people can spend
engineering $$$ to get the driver into mainline.   

More specifically, Dave said that it "seemed rude" to just take the
driver and send updates, but maybe the best way of dealing with
out-of-tree drivers like lirc is to treat the out-of-tree drivers as a
kind of spec release, and just have someone in the community forcibly
take the code, fix it up, and then get it merged.  Maybe it's being
"rude", but so is not responding to requests to get it merged.

							- Ted
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