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I am making a research on drivers for Linux that may integrate both open and proprietary source code. I am very new to to the field of driver research and not sure how to look for a comprehensive list of such drivers. Any help is appreciated. Thanks

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closed as too broad by Braiam, slm, jasonwryan, strugee, Anthon May 29 '14 at 6:08

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

start here linux-drivers.org –  Braiam May 28 '14 at 15:48
short answer: don't. this is a technical and especially legal minefield, especially given the copyleftist nature of the Linux kernel license (GPL). –  strugee May 29 '14 at 2:38

1 Answer 1

A driver which includes open source code with proprietary code is a proprietary driver. Note that many open source licenses (including the GPL) don't permit this to start with.

That said, some OSS licenses (such as the MIT and BSD license) do permit reuse in a proprietary context, so really you are asking for a list of proprietary drivers which make use of (appropriately licensed) OSS code.

There's no "comprehensive list" of such things for a few simple reasons:

  • They won't be part of the official linux kernel source tree, which contains all of the commonly used open source drivers, because they aren't open source.

  • Their use may be restricted along proprietary lines, and hence, they are not really publicly available. For example, if a manufacturer ships a linux kernel based device with its own proprietary drivers, those drivers might not be licensed for any kind of downloading or use beyond that context.

Drivers which are available for downloading and general use may be subject to restrictions on their distribution (e.g., from an official source only) so there could be no central repository for such things. You may find partial lists (as per Braiam's comment), although these will probably not distinguish proprietary drivers which include OSS code from those which do not; most likely you will have to investigate each one individually.

Note that all linux drivers need to make use of the kernel API/ABI, but this is not included under the terms of the license and so does not really amount to "including OSS code".

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Thank you so much for your answers. It made a lot of things clear. It seems,though, that I have a lot to do ahead. :) –  user3581402 May 28 '14 at 19:30

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