Linux developers push for open drivers

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Linux developers push for open drivers

A group of some 140 Linux developers are calling on hardware vendors to open up their driver code..

Backed by the Linux Foundation, the developers signed an open letter addressed to all hardware vendors who have yet to release their Linux drivers as open source software.

"We have repeatedly found them to be detrimental to Linux users, businesses, and the greater Linux ecosystem," reads the letter.

"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."

The Foundation said in a statement that closed-source drivers ultimately harm the Linux community, which has long prided itself on the open-source model, in which the source code for a piece of software is open to the public.

As the Linux community has grown, however, the original open-source developers have been forced to work with hardware developers who wish to keep their driver code proprietary.

The group said that while most developers have released open-source versions of their Linux drivers, a few holdouts remain.

"The kernel community wants to send a clear signal to these vendors as well as prevent any future vendors from following the closed source path and preventing their uses from getting all the benefits of Linux's open development model," said the foundation.

The petition echoed that sentiment, saying that the use of closed-source drivers strikes at one of the main reasons users choose to run Linux.

"Vendors that provide closed-source kernel modules force their customers to give up key Linux advantages or choose new vendors," read the letter.

"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.
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