Keeping the Kernel Klean
Operating systems drive devices. Linux is driven by open-source imperatives. So, naturally, Linux's kernel developers have a problem with closed-source kernel modules. And, just as naturally, they've hacked up a statement they hope will discourage the closed and encourage the open.
On his blog, Greg Kroah-Hartman explained, “As part of the Linux Foundation Technical board...we wanted to do something that could be seen as a general 'public statement' about them that is easy to understand and point to when people have questions”. Here it is:
Position Statement on Linux Kernel Modules, June 2008
We, the undersigned Linux kernel developers, consider any closed-source Linux kernel module or driver to be harmful and undesirable. We have repeatedly found them to be detrimental to Linux users, businesses and the greater Linux ecosystem. Such modules negate the openness, stability, flexibility and maintainability of the Linux development model and shut their users off from the expertise of the Linux community. Vendors that provide closed-source kernel modules force their customers to give up key Linux advantages or choose new vendors. Therefore, in order to take full advantage of the cost savings and shared support benefits open source has to offer, we urge vendors to adopt a policy of supporting their customers on Linux with open-source kernel code.
We speak only for ourselves, and not for any company we might work for today, have in the past or will in the future.
Below that are 176 names.
The Linux Foundation has a slightly broader statement:
The Linux Foundation recommends that hardware manufacturers provide open-source kernel modules. The open-source nature of Linux is intrinsic to its success. We encourage manufacturers to work with the kernel community to provide open-source kernel modules in order to enable their users and themselves to take advantage of the considerable benefits that Linux makes possible. We agree with the Linux kernel developers that vendors who provide closed-source kernel modules force their customers to give up these key Linux advantages. We urge all vendors to adopt a policy of supporting their customers on Linux with open-source kernel modules.
Either way the message is clear.
Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal
- Readers' Choice Awards 2013
- Mars Needs Women
- RSS Feeds
- Sublime Text: One Editor to Rule Them All?
- Raspberry Pi: the Perfect Home Server
- December 2013 Issue of Linux Journal: Readers' Choice
- IBM Will Minimize Impact of Future Disasters
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- Linux Systems Administrator
- Senior Perl Developer
15 min 10 sec ago
- This should be very helpful
1 hour 29 min ago
- As much as I share your point
3 hours 48 min ago
- So girls had it better ?
7 hours 20 min ago
- Reply to comment | Linux Journal
7 hours 40 min ago
- why is GNOME 3 in the fifth position at 14.1 %?
13 hours 12 min ago
- Sublime Is Brilliant!
18 hours 15 min ago
18 hours 35 min ago
- Rapid[Disk,Cache] better than native ram caching?
19 hours 5 sec ago
- Nothing is perfect
19 hours 13 min ago