Freescale Linux BSP review

Konstantinos Margaritis markos at
Wed Dec 22 03:02:21 PST 2010

On 22 December 2010 09:51, Matt Sealey <matt at> wrote:
> Okay I hereby refrain from legal comments.
> In any case, this code has passed legal at Freescale and AMD *AND*
> Qualcomm. It would not be GPL if it has not been vetted (and it took
> them a year to get to this point).

It appears that this discussion ended up on [1], with an
air of hostility towards Genesi and Matt for no good reason.

I don't know whose idea was that, but it's certainly of very bad taste
and helps very little to the discussion. Matt poses real questions and
issues we -as a company producing ARM products- face all the time.
Admittedly the technical reasons for not including the kernel-space
driver into mainline presented by Dave Airlie are correct and very
down-to-earth. But IMHO, *this* should be the starting point to
continue the discussion, instead of immediately rejecting this driver.
Is there *any* way that problem posed by Dave could be solved, perhaps
by throwing the ball to the ARM vendor companies to provide just a
small extra part of the code needed to do API checks and therefore
ensuring the kernel guys CAN actually do their work as they like?

As for the philosophical problems, well, I'm sure everyone here
understands that the situation of ARM graphics in the kernel is in no
way comparable to Intel or Nvidia/ATI chipsets, they had totally
different starting points. ARM came from the embedded market where it
thrived for many years with the exact same licensing rules that we all
would like to abolish in just a few months, where at the same time we
"swallowed" the fact that it took Intel and ATI/AMD - forget nvidia,
nv-obfuscated driver IN the kernel for YEARS? really? - many years to
accept mainline opensource development. And even Intel with all their
experience made a complete mess of things using the latest cpus.

I *really* do appreciate Linaro and the effort from ARM and the
relevant vendors towards open source enablement, and Genesi has proven
that by donating ~50 ARM based netbooks and smarttops to Linaro
developers at Linaro at UDS -and around ~40 units to other projects
including Debian and Gentoo -and we intend to give more in the future.
We know the process and how it works, just as well as everyone here
does actually. But we also have to be pragmatic. An ARM based
solution/product with no long-term support from the kernel side will
find it very hard to survive indeed. I strongly believe that, half a
solution is better than no solution, and it can also serve a purpose
until a proper full solution appears. It also does show a leap of good
faith from the FOSS side, and one which ARM companies will have to
follow soon.

So, if by chance anyone really expects ARM licensees to do 180 degrees
change in philosophy overnight, I obviously cannot speak for them, but
IMHO, that is not bound to happen. It will probably happen in a few
years but only by discussion and collaboration, seriously not by
dealing with absolutes. Denying even the smallest step backwards from
the side of the FOSS community is not a victory, it's a downright
failure of the community side to actively support and push ARM -based
devices as an alternative Linux desktop and portable solutions
(netbook etc).

My 2c.



More information about the dri-devel mailing list