Why FreeBSD not popular on hardware vendors

Da Rock rock_on_the_web at comcen.com.au
Sun Dec 14 23:11:08 PST 2008

On Sun, 2008-12-14 at 23:53 -0700, Chad Perrin wrote:
> 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
> seen.
> > > 
> > > 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:
>   http://patft.uspto.gov/
> Unfortunately, anything covered by a patent, as I hinted above, is
> verboten.

But if I remember my legal and ethics course correctly if you can arrive
at a conclusion through your own research then your reasonably clear.
For example, the drivers are closed source but the hardware itself is an
entirely separate issue. So if you can create your own drivers by your
own research into how the hardware is setup then the drivers created
could licensed under your own terms- open source or otherwise.

The drivers and hardware may operate together but are separate items of
creativity, therefore do not operate under the same patent.

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