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LinuxWorld: Opening the drivers -- A flood of new open source drivers may be on the horizon

Mar 02, 2000, 23:39 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nick Petreley)

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"Believe it or not, most of these companies want to be able to release their device drivers as open source. Better still, they'd like to release the hardware specifications for their devices and let the open source community build the device drivers from the ground up."

"But they are afraid to open up all of their driver source code because that exposes proprietary secrets about their hardware, which, in turn, gives their competitors the ability to copy their unique designs without having to reverse engineer the proprietary hardware."

"I invited a panel of experts to talk about this issue at LinuxWorld Expo in New York. The panel included representatives from Adaptec, Ariel, Aureal, Creative Labs, and Matrox. Each of these companies has approached the issue of open source drivers a little differently, but they were all able to agree on one thing. They have no problem opening up the specifications of their hardware or revealing the source code for everything from the PCI bus backward. But they don't want to reveal the source code for the programs that drive the proprietary chip sets on the board."

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