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Kernel Developers Issue Joint Statement on Device Drivers

Jun 23, 2008, 12:00 (16 Talkback[s])

Position Statement on Linux Kernel Modules

"We, the undersigned Linux kernel developers, consider any closed-source Linux kernel module or driver to be harmful and undesirable. We have repeatedly found them to be detrimental to Linux users, businesses, and the greater Linux ecosystem. Such modules negate the openness, stability, flexibility, and maintainability of the Linux development model and shut their users off from the expertise of the Linux community. Vendors that provide closed-source kernel modules force their customers to give up key Linux advantages or choose new vendors. Therefore, in order to take full advantage of the cost savings and shared support benefits open source has to offer, we urge vendors to adopt a policy of supporting their customers on Linux with open-source kernel code..."

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The Linux Driver Model: A Better Way to Support Devices

"Linux today supports more hardware devices than any other operating system in the history of the world. It does this using a development model significantly different from the familiar Windows device driver model. The Linux development process continues to evolve to better support the needs of Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs), distributions, and other members of the community, and the advantages of the Linux model are increasing with time. While Linux will not provide a stable source or binary interface for driver developers, IHVs should familiarize themselves with a number of useful projects, many sponsored by the Linux Foundation, that ease driver development, including the Hardware NDA program, the Linux Drivers Project, and the Driver Backport Workgroup. When IHVs engage with the Linux community, they almost invariably find that the Linux driver model provides significant benefits that lower their costs while producing better drivers..."

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