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Graphics Open Source Linux

Open-Source Qualcomm GPU Driver Published 79

An anonymous reader writes "Not being content with the state of open source graphics drivers for Linux, a developer working for Texas Instruments has reverse-engineered his competitor's (Qualcomm) driver and written an open-source Snapdragon driver. With being tainted by legal documents at Texas Instruments, the developer, who is also involved with Linaro, had no other choice but to work on an open source graphics driver for his competitor in his free time. The open source Qualcomm Snapdragon/Adreno driver is called Freedreno."
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Open-Source Qualcomm GPU Driver Published

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  • Re:a clarification (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @11:41PM (#39690637)
    Now put it under GPL3, so that nobody would be able to incorporate it and withold any enhancements from others, particularly since it doesn't belong to the hardware owners. This is one of those rare cases where GPL3 is the right solution
  • Re:a clarification (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @11:59PM (#39690715)

    I'm not an open source zealot, but I don't see anything unethical in what he did.

    Anyone (w/ the expertise) could have taken the documentation on Qualcomm's snapdragon from their datasheets, and written a driver based on that to simulate its functionality. How is that cheating? It would only be cheating if he had somehow gotten hold of Qualcomm's original code and splashed it all over the internet. But what he did was something that anybody could have done - it ain't cheating if you figure out how on your own. Qualcomm's only case against him is if they have patents that he (accidentally) violated while writing those drivers. Otherwise, what he did was an independent piece of work, which he can release under any license.

    Okay, he's written open source drivers for his competitor, but is TI's own driver open source, or would someone outside TI have to do the same thing to them?

  • Re:correction: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Sunday April 15, 2012 @12:07AM (#39690735)

    How would he have violated any NDA's?

    TI and Qualcomm are competitors here. He (probably) took a Qualcomm datasheet - freely available online on their website - and using that and his own knowledge of drivers (since he presumably wrote them for TI), he wrote drivers totally independently of Qualcomm. He then presumably released it under an FOSS license. All of which is not just perfectly legal (barring any patent violations) but also completely ethical. TI and Qualcomm don't need to have anything to do w/ each other. Only if he used proprietary QCOM information obtained by TI under an NDA to prepare this driver would he be opening TI up to lawsuits. But from the description of what's been done, it's not obvious that he did.

    If he did this on his own time and at home, not using any TI resources, I don't see how he's exposed TI to any lawsuits.

  • Re:a clarification (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, 2012 @02:42AM (#39691311)

    Is this the first time you have come across reverse engineering? It does not involve copying the work of others, like the Chinese are being accused of. Reverse engineering is not an illegal, or even immoral, practice.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein