Why FreeBSD not popular on hardware vendors

Da Rock rock_on_the_web at comcen.com.au
Mon Dec 15 04:27:48 PST 2008

On Mon, 2008-12-15 at 02:16 -0800, perryh at pluto.rain.com wrote:
> > > Unfortunately, anything covered by a patent, as I hinted
> > > above, is verboten.
> Er, doesn't it depend on what is patented?  If the h/w itself is
> patented, but its software-visible interface is not, there should be
> no problem writing a driver for that h/w.  OTOH if the algorithms
> used in the driver are patented it would be an infringement to
> reproduce them.
> > 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.
> Not under patent, at least in the US, last I heard.  (IANAL)
> A patent is infringed by any reproduction of the technology
> involved, even entirely independently.  Someone described the
> justification as avoiding a situation in which it would pay
> to be ignorant of what others had done.

If you have done your own research then the algorithms wouldn't
necessarily be the same- they'd nearly certainly be different, wouldn't
they? So isn't that the basis for the patent? A patent is a registration
of an idea. Two different ideas can still arrive at the same conclusion.

> > 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.
> At least in the US, that works for copyright but not for patent.
> > The drivers and hardware may operate together but are separate
> > items of creativity, therefore do not operate under the same
> > patent.
> Again, it depends on exactly what is patented (strictly speaking,
> what the patent's "claims" are.)

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