What the Kernel Hackers Said, and Who Said It


A bunch of kernel developers have released the following statement on closed-source kernel drivers:

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 kernel code.

Nothing very surprising there. But what is slightly surprising, if only because it's bound to be noticed, is that a certain Linus Torvalds is not among the list of kernel luminaries signing said declaration. I presume this is because of his long-standing dislike of categorical statements of this kind. Nonetheless, a Position Statement of this kind without the Man Himself seems a little hobbled, to say the least....