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Alan Cox to NVIDIA: You Can't Use DMA-BUF 946

DMA-BUF is a recent kernel feature that allows multiple GPUs to quickly copy data into each others' framebuffers. A use case would be the NVIDIA Optimus that pairs a fast GPU with an Intel integrated GPU, where the NVIDIA GPU writes into the Intel framebuffer when it is active. But, NVIDIA won't be able to use this infrastructure because it's GPL. Alan Cox replied on LKML to a request from one of their engineers to mark the API non-GPL: "NAK. This needs at the very least the approval of all rights holders for the files concerned and all code exposed by this change. Also I'd note if you are trying to do this for the purpose of combining it with proprietary code then you are still in my view as a (and the view of many other) rights holder to the kernel likely to be in breach of the GPL requirements for a derivative work. You may consider that formal notification of my viewpoint. Your corporate legal team can explain to you why the fact you are now aware of my view is important to them." The rest of the thread is worth a read (a guy from RedHat agrees that this code is GPL and cannot become non-GPL without relicensing from a major subset of graphics system contributors). This has a ripple effect: it means that all of the ARM SoC GPU drivers can't use it either, and it may prevent any proprietary drivers for the proposed DRI version 3.
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Alan Cox to NVIDIA: You Can't Use DMA-BUF

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  • by faragon ( 789704 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @04:01PM (#41622645) Homepage

    So, given that NVIDIA's choice is to give up a competitive edge or to intentionally implement its feature set in an obstructionist manner, how is the GPL "good" in this case?

    Because it is THE LAW. </Dredd>

  • by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @05:09PM (#41623657)
    1. I want to give away a large amount of money to the poor. This is a good thing, a very good thing. I know that the bank near my house has a large amount of money.
    2. The current licensing of the bank makes it impossible for me to get the money, unless I work hard to earn it. Whether this is good is questionable because:
    a. It means that I have to get tired OR
    b. It means that I have to work like everybody else does for a living, preventing me to have an easier life than all the others.
    3) My only other option is that I have to find a less easy way to obtain the money rather than simply picking it up the from the bank. This is a questionable premise.

    So, given that my choice is to work to earn money or to give up the idea of giving money to the poor, how are private property laws "good" in this case?

  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @05:14PM (#41623743)

    So, you (and Alan Cox) can be complete dicks about this and hold the Linux desktop and Linux embedded devices with decent drivers back for years because nobody bothers to support such a tiny market with open source drivers, or you can allow proprietary graphics card manufacturers to keep their hold on graphics drivers for a few years and keep the vast majority of users happy because they have a device that works well enough (even though it doesn't have open source graphics drivers) UNTIL the community develops open source drivers themselves.

    So then Valve must be a bunch of Idiots.. [] Apparently, those dumb-asses seem to think that having access to the drivers makes it easier to find bottlenecks, performance issues, etc, and to improve the drivers at the same time. In fact, their Blog mentions this several times. If only they just understood the closed source model..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @05:52PM (#41624241)

    Well, JUST IN THE USA, that would be $150,000 (times three for wilful infringement) for copyright infringement FOR EACH COPY MADE.

    Alan could download 10,000 copies of the driver from the NVidia site and buy himself an Island!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:09PM (#41624437)

    Just like herpes. You know, since you pretty much cant contract herpes without doing something that results in contact with an infected person.

    I think thats a perfect analogy, GPL is just like Herpes. You don't want it, and once you get it, it doesnt' really stop you from doing anything, but it makes ti a lot more obnoxious to do certain things.

    Sounds like a dead on match. Good show.

    GPL is just like Herpes.

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