Subject: Re: Here's a-what I'm a-gonna do.
From: James Horton <>
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 1996 16:11:34 -0400 (EDT)

and your sharing any code?

On 8 Jun 1996 wrote:

> [ There's no point in *having* a Free Software Business mailing list
>   unless we actually *use* it.  So, I'm using it.  BTW, in case you
>   have lost interest and want off the mailing list, please send your
>   request to; don't just reply to this
>   mail.  -russ ]
> There's this company, see, and they've got some neat hardware.  No
> Linux driver.  No interest in a Linux driver, even in bartering for it
> with hardware.  "We're a small company and can only afford to hit the
> high-volume mass markets."  So, after much negotiation and badgering
> and signing of nondisclosures (that allow source distribution),
> they've agreed to give me the source code to their DOS/Windows driver.
> So, I guess I'm going into the hardware business.  I'm going to write
> the Linux driver as a kernel module, and resell their hardware.  My
> profit on writing the driver is going to come from reselling the
> hardware.  Only way I can see to do that without relying on the
> goodness of people's hearts, however, is to not use the GPL.
> If I used the GPL, the driver would get uploaded to sunsite, and
> people would just buy the hardware from whomever.  If I put code into
> the driver to check for only the hardware serial numbers that I sold,
> someone would "fix" the driver (and from their perspective, that's
> what they would be doing -- removing a bug).  Even if I paid the
> company to slightly modify the hardware so that my driver would only
> work on the hardware that people purchased from me, someone would
> probably adapt the driver, again, fixing a bug.
> I just don't see any way around it: if I want to profitably write a
> driver for this hardware, it can't be GPL'ed.
> L. Peter Deutsch's FPL (Free Public License) is no help here, because
> the product manufacturer isn't interested in distributing the Linux
> driver.
> I don't know of anyone distributing proprietary kernel modules for
> Linux.  I hesitate to be the first, but I figure that I'm the best
> person to do it.  I've been writing GPL'ed programs for over a decade.
> I maintained the Linux kernel changes page for well over a year when
> no one else was doing it.  I'm not trying to take monopoly profits
> here -- I'll be selling the hardware for the same price as the
> manufacturer.
> It'll be interesting....
> -russ <>
> Crynwr Software   | Crynwr Software sells packet driver support | PGP ok
> 11 Grant St.      | +1 315 268 1925 voice | It's no mistake to err on
> Potsdam, NY 13676 | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   | the side of freedom.

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