Freescale Linux BSP review

Nicolas Pitre nicolas.pitre at
Wed Dec 22 12:29:23 PST 2010

On Wed, 22 Dec 2010, Konstantinos Margaritis wrote:

> On 22 December 2010 21:22, Nicolas Pitre <nicolas.pitre at> wrote:
> > Having accommodations in the kernel for proprietary drivers is not a
> > mutual benefit anymore.  That might be hard to understand from your
> > point of view, but the incentives in the Open Source communities aren't
> > based on commercial results.
> DISCLAIMER: I'm also a Debian developer -have been since 1999 with a
> small 2y break- so I _do_ know the F/OSS community point of view. My
> goals have been always in promoting open source and free software
> solutions when and when not available.

Good to know.

> Right now open source solutions are _not_ available, and that is the 
> problem.

Yes, everyone agrees.  Well, I suppose.

That would be the first official statement to make.  Do we really 
consider this a problem?  Because most companies used to the proprietary 
model won't see a problem at all here, and therefore wouldn't consider 
any effort in the direction of open drivers a worthy goal. That would be 
the heart of any subsequent misunderstandings.

I'll let someone else with a bigger Linaro hat make that official 
statement though.

> I haven't reversed engineered any driver so I can't claim of knowledge in this
> matter. However I've been following closely other such projects like nouveau
> and it took them a _long_ time to get to this point here -which may be usable
> for many people, but it's not even at a beta state according to the Nouveau
> developers. Even if we assume the fact that 10 times more ARM F/OSS
> developers gather to reverse engineer the binary blobs, how long do you think
> it would take until a beta driver appears? 1 year? 2 years? And what will happen
> in the meantime?

In the mean time some other company might see a nice opportunity to 
sidestep the competition by making its drivers fully open source.  
That's what happened with WIFI, resulting in the least expected company 
to finally open up its driver like all the others ended up doing.  It 
must have been economically advantageous to them in the end (lower 
support costs, additional customer opportunities, etc.)

> I'm not advocating that closed source drivers be included in the 
> kernel, but IMHO, having an open kernel-space driver would also help 
> the reverse engineering process at the same time as allowing common 
> users as well as developers to use and test any 3D applications -don't 
> forget that 3D problems don't end at the driver, rather the opposite.

Problems don't end at the driver, they start there.

And those proprietary drivers exist and are being used already.  But 
don't expect the mainline kernel to make accommodations for them. It is 
not economically viable for the Open Source community to accommodate 
proprietary drivers, irrespective of how loud you might advocate for 


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