As part of the Linux Foundation Technical board, we confront the issue
of closed source Linux kernel modules all the time, and we wanted to do
something that could be seen as a general "public statement" about them
that is easy to understand and point to when people have questions.
So, after working on this for a while, and asking some of the other
major contributors and maintainers of the kernel, what we have is below.
There is also a site that contains a link to a statement from
the Linux Foundation about this topic, as well as some more descriptions
and background information, and a copy of the full statement as well.
I've also put a pretty pdf version here
in case people want to print it out.
If there are any kernel developers who want to add their names to this
statement, please let me know by private email and I will be glad to add
Position Statement on Linux Kernel Modules
We, the undersigned Linux kernel developers, consider any closed-source
Linux kernel module or driver to be harmful and undesirable. We have
repeatedly found them to be detrimental to Linux users, businesses, and
the greater Linux ecosystem. 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. Vendors that provide closed-source kernel modules force
their customers to give up key Linux advantages or choose new vendors.
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
We speak only for ourselves, and not for any company we might work for
today, have in the past, or will in the future.
Mauro Carvalho Chehab
Ahmed S. Darwish
Robert P. J. Day
J. Bruce Fields
Henrique de Moraes Holschuh
John W. Linville
Maciej W. Rozycki
Arjan van de Ven
Ivo van Doorn
Wim Van Sebroeck
Dan J. Williams
Darrick J. Wong
Rafael J. Wysocki
posted Sun, 22 Jun 2008 in