[hsflinux] driver problem

jon787 at myrealbox.com jon787 at myrealbox.com
Sat Feb 28 20:07:42 EST 2004

On Fri, Feb 27, 2004 at 05:49:19PM -0500, Marc Boucher wrote:
> Hi Jon,
> On Feb 27, 2004, at 1:23 PM, Jon wrote:
> >As far as I know your drivers are under the license listed at
> >http://www.linuxant.com/drivers/license.php
> >So I was really curious when I installed them and didn't get a warning
> >message about 'tainting' my kernel like I get when I install the nvidia
> >graphics drivers.
> >
> >The tainted kernel warning occurs whenever you load a module that is 
> >not
> >GPL'd into the kernel. This is done by string comparison on the
> >MODULE_LICENSE string in the module.
> >
> >Here is that section from mod_engine.c
> >MODULE_LICENSE("GPL\0for files in the \"GPL\" directory; for others,
> >only LICENSE file applies");
> >
> As the MODULE_LICENSE says, some distinct files (specifically those 
> under the GPL directory) are released under the GPL. This is mentioned 
> in the driver's README file:
> "Most files in this package are released under terms described in
> the LICENSE file. Some distinct components, located in the
> modules/GPL directory however are covered by the GNU General Public 
> License.
> See the files LICENSE and modules/GPL/COPYING for details."
> The components are distinct in the sense that they are isolated from 
> the core softmodem driver, which essentially consists of independently 
> developed/licensed code ported from Windows that we do not even own.
> Full source for GPL/ed files is of course included in our tar.gz, 
> generic RPM, and .debs packages.

I know that

> >Looks okay, until you notice the pesky null character stuck in it.
> >As any C programmer will tell you, the end of a string is marked by a
> >null character. So the effective string in MODULE_LICENSE is only 
> >"GPL".
> The \0 is in fact just a workaround to prevent repetitive messages 
> generated by the modutils when attempting to load several modules when 
> probing for each hardware type. These messages were very confusing for 
> ordinary users who often thought that their device was not working when 
> in fact everything was fine.

It is a bad workaround that causes your modules to mis-represent
themselves to the operating system.

> >While personally I think this is a nice trick, I doubt Torvalds and/or
> >Stallman would agree. I will wait a week for a response on this mailing
> >list before asking them what they think of it.
> Why not instead ask the modutils maintainer(s) for a way to attenuate 
> the confusing/redundant messages and make the workaround unnecessary 
> (we'll be glad to remove it if it is no longer needed), instead of 
> launching a futile debate that will detract attention and scarce 
> resources that are much more needed & constructively spent in technical 
> areas?

Nvidia and ATI don't do it.
Anyway modutils is dead, replaced by module-init-tools for 2.5.48
kernels and above. I'm not sure if module-init-tools reports the tainted
status to the terminal, I haven't loaded any tainted modules with it but
running strings on the binaries doesn't show the word "taint" appearing
in them so they probably don't.

> We're trying to deliver much needed drivers for Linux users with a 
> practical approach, in a way that reasonably satisfies all of the 
> different interests involved (hardware manufacturers, the community's, 
> our own obligations and necessity to be financially viable to survive 
> etc..). Presently we have a fragile, but working balance, which might 
> not be maintainable if one party starts making life too difficult..
> Regards
> Marc

To quote your own website:
"Integrity - We employ the highest ethical standards in every action we
take, starting with each other."

(and it isn't necessary to send replies to me and the list, I'm on the
"I don't care to belong to any organization that accepts
 me as a member." -- Groucho Marx

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