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Re: The i2o Bus: A Conspiracy Against Free Software?

Bruce Perens wrote:
: Check out http://www.i2osig.org/ "i2o" is a developing "non-proprietary"
: standard for high-performance computer peripherals. Unfortunately, it's a
: closed standard, it requires a NDA, and you need a license to develop
: software for it. Their terms are:
: 	Membership is $5000/year.
: 	You can't develop software or hardware for it without being a member.
: 	You can't disclose source code for your drivers.
: 	You must stop making hardware or software for it if you lose membership.
: 	Members can vote out other members.


: I suspect that if i2o peripherals become popular, free operating systems
: will be locked out from running on PC hardware.

I've had a brief look at http://www.i2osig.org/background.html, and it would
_appear_ that the only necessity for Linux would be to provide an interface
layer between the operating system and the I2O device. Unfortunately, I can't
tell how this would work in a manner independant of the OS (from the device
driver point of view).

_IF_ the object code for these drivers is usable on any OS (which is what
I read as being the aim of the standard), _AND_ Linux can get that interface
layer implemented under the GPL, there may not be anything to worry about.
However, those two ifs are very big ones.

The other problem I can see arising out of this is driver authors
deliberately designing their drivers to operate well under one specific OS,
crippling performance under others.

Personally, I'd be a lot happier if the specs were available without the
need to sign an NDA. Linux has made me very wary of items that require NDAs
to be signed...

My two cents for the day.

Version: 3.1
GCS d-(++) s+:- a-- C++>$ UL+++(++++)>++++$ P-(---) L++(+++)>+++$ !E---
W+(--)>-- N+(++)> o+>++ K- !w--- !O- !M- !V- PS+ PE Y(+) PGP+>+++ t 5 !X
!R tv-(--)>! b++(++++)>++++ DI+(+)>++++ D++(---) G+ e++ h>++ !r>+++ y?

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