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Date:      Wed, 17 Oct 2001 21:11:31 -0700
From:      "Ted Mittelstaedt" <>
To:        "Doug Hass" <>
Cc:        "Leo Bicknell" <>, "Jim Bryant" <>, "MurrayTaylor" <>, <freebsd-hackers@FreeBSD.ORG>, <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.ORG>
Subject:   RE: FYI
Message-ID:  <000001c1578a$f7962480$>
In-Reply-To: <>

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: Doug Hass []
>Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 9:19 AM
>To: Ted Mittelstaedt
>Cc: Leo Bicknell; Jim Bryant; MurrayTaylor; freebsd-hackers@FreeBSD.ORG;
>Subject: RE: FYI
>> Doug, in the entire history of the FreeBSD project, when given a choice
>> between a better driver or code that is closed source, and a worse
>> driver that has open source, the FreeBSD community has never chosen the
>> driver or code with closed source.  In fact I can only remember ONCE
>> that the Project has recommended against freely available BSD code - and
>> they did so in favor of GPL code, not closed source code - and this was
>> for the coprocessor emulator (used for 386 and 486SX chips only)
>> The only time that FreeBSD gets involved in closed-source code is when
>> there is simply NO other alternative - like in this case where the
>> register interface specs are being withheld.
>We certainly support the right for companies to protect their intellectual
>property in whatever way they see fit, even if the FreeBSD community does

Whoah whoah here!  Where did I say that FreeBSD didn't support intellectual
property?  Choosing not to include a lot of binary licensed code in the
FreeBSD distribution is a free choice that the maintainers have made.  How
can you fault them for that?!?!

I think that your ignoring a lot of issues here when you say that FreeBSD
doesen't support IP.  For starters I'm only stating what is current in the
Unlike Linux, there is not a large quantity of binary-only code distributed
with FreeBSD distributions.  Companies are free to distribute such as they see
Not many of them would allow binary-only code into the FreeBSD CD distribution
anyway.  In fact one of the reasons that the Ports directory is set up the way
it is, is so that the project doesen't have to deal with a bunch of licensing

>The lack of flexibility in accepting various requirements illustrates the
>difference between an OS WITH legs in the market and one WITHOUT legs.
>Much to my chagrin, FreeBSD continues to fall more and more into the
>latter category.

This is a gross simplification of a great many issues.  I fail to see why you
feel that FreeBSD is threatening anyone's IP and I don't understand why you
are reacting this way.  Any company is free to take the FreeBSD distribution
and customize it the way they want and include any proprietary and binary code
want and hand out distributions as they see fit.  Imagestream could do this
if it wanted to.  I'm just saying that in the past the main FreeBSD
have preferred not to do this, and I see no indication that things are
in the latest release.  The fact is that just about everything included
in the release has full source code.

If Imagestream wants to release binary-only drivers for the WANic card and
have them included in the FreeBSD distribution, since there's no alternative
I'm sure that nobody would complain - unless Imagestream demanded that anyone
getting a FreeBSD distribution with the drivers report back to them, or some

Ted Mittelstaedt                             
Author of:                           The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide
Book website:                

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