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Showing posts from February, 2007

It's better than a binary only driver..

Recently, Greg K.H. made an offer to write free linux kernel drivers to any company that will provide him with docs to their hardware. Some BSD folks had a problem with Greg making this offer to people who would only give up their docs if the developer signed an NDA. Theo de Raadt chimed in declaring that "it is a fucking farce", which is his usual way. As far as they are concerned, an open source driver without docs is not open at all. That may be so, but I still think having source code.. any source code.. which actually works, is better than having no docs or source code.

It would be nice if companies would hand over docs without an NDA.. that is certainly preferable for everyone.. but some of them just won't, and getting them to hand over docs under an NDA with the ok for someone to write a free driver (be it GPL or BSD licensed) - that's something and it shouldn't be ignored.

Now, if companies start doing this and drivers start showing up as GPL, but witho…

Distributed vs Centralized revision control

In the last few years we've seen the rise of the so called distributed revision control systems. These are, essentially, tool support for maintaining your own personal version of an open source project.

Let's take, as an example, the WINE project. They use Git, the same version control system as the Linux kernel. Suppose I have a favourite application that I would like to run using WINE. There might be some things that my app requires which WINE doesn't yet support. I don't mind implementing these things, but I really couldn't be bothered going through the hassle of satisfying every whim of the WINE developers (how they like their patches submitted, how they like their changelog written, etc).

What happens when WINE releases a new version which I want to upgrade to? Do I keep an entire source code tree around just to run my favorite app? What if I have more than one favorite app? Git lets me update my source code tree and merge any updates that conflict wit…