The Linux kernel development community is emphasizing the need for open source device drivers. While the vast majority of device drivers have open source, there are a few holdouts, according to a representative of the Linux Foundation and the kernel developers. With the statement, developers want to prevent future vendors from following the closed source path. One holdout being cited was Nvidia.
More than 135 people have signed the statement, which can be found here. "We, the undersigned Linux kernel developers, consider any closed-source Linux kernel module or driver to be harmful and undesirable," the statement said. "We have repeatedly found them to be detrimental to Linux users, businesses, and the greater Linux ecosystem."
These modules negate the openness and flexibility of the Linux development module and shut off users from expertise of the Linux community, the statement said. Vendors were urged to adopt a policy of supporting customers on Linux with open-source kernel code.
The foundation issued a statement supporting the developers.
"The Linux Foundation recommends that hardware manufacturers provide open source kernel modules. The open source nature of Linux is intrinsic to its success. We encourage manufacturers to work with the kernel community to provide open source kernel modules in order to enable their users and themselves to take advantage of the considerable benefits that Linux makes possible," the foundation said.
Also, the foundation has released a white paper on its device driver model. "Linux today supports more hardware devices than any other operating system in the history of the world. It does this using a development model significantly different from the familiar Windows device driver model," the paper stated.