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

“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

“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

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