Why FreeBSD not popular on hardware vendors

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Sun Dec 14 22:53:56 PST 2008

On Sun, Dec 14, 2008 at 02:50:00PM +1000, Da Rock wrote:
> On Fri, 2008-12-12 at 14:25 -0700, Chad Perrin wrote:
> > 
> > I think he's trying to say that open source drivers would be preferable,
> > and to develop them we'd need the hardware specs so we'd have a target
> > toward which to develop drivers.  Of course, "preferable" is my choice of
> > term -- he seems to be more of the opinion that anything that isn't
> > strictly open source should just be shunned, out of hand.  While it would
> > be nice if that was a practical option, it isn't really, at this point.
> > 
> Perhaps he'd be more at home in the Fedora community which are adamant
> about that too... :P

Perhaps so.

OpenBSD is pretty adamant about that, too -- more so than Fedora, I
think.  In fact, the OpenBSD project seems to be the most adamant open
source OS project, about keeping everything open (except the format of
the installer, for some inconsistent as hell damned reason), that I've

> > 
> > Actually, patents are publicly documented by definition -- we're just not
> > *allowed* to use it, once it has been patented, without permission.  The
> > sort of thing they don't want to divulge is trade secrets, which you
> > meantioned -- not patents, which you also mentioned.  For some reason,
> > though, some hardware vendors seem inclined to use patents as an excuse
> > for keeping secrets, which never made much sense to me.
> > 
> > IANAL, though I read about the law from time to time.
> Ok, so moving forward on this point: How exactly does this help in
> developing drivers for FreeBSD? Patents are ideas- right? So wouldn't
> this mean that it would still require "guessing" and estimation of what
> should happen and how to do it?

The problem with open source driver development is lack of documented
implementation details and the illegality of reproducing anything covered
by patent -- not lack of patent documentation.

> You also mention that they're publicly accessible- how? Whats the portal
> and how would you search for required device?

I don't do patent searches regularly, but I'd probably start with the US
Patent Office site.

Okay, I did a Google search for USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark
Office), clicked the first link, clicked through a menu item, and found
this page:


Unfortunately, anything covered by a patent, as I hinted above, is

Chad Perrin [ content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
Quoth Martin Luther: "Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by
destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and
women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?"
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