[alsa-devel] Creative Soundblaster X-Fi

Ash Willis ashwillis at programmer.net
Fri Jun 29 20:21:06 CEST 2007

Hi all,
Sorry for straying a little off topic, but talk of these couple of chips got me
thinking about unsupported hardware in general.

Does anyone know the legal implications of reverse engineering with regards to
producing new drivers? I myself wouldn't mind reversing a certain chip or two
but I'm not too aware of the legality of it all, particularly in the case where
the vendor is hostile or unwilling to release chip information.

In general, is it legally acceptable to reverse engineer for the purposes of

Are vendors likely to make a noise if their hardware gains support under Linux
without or against their consent? or is it more a matter of protecting the
original product specification than hiding details of the product's interface?

Takashi, may I ask your thoughts on this? What's your position on accepting
reverse engineered code? (Let's assume that the driver works as well as one
written in a more correct manner ;))
I'm fully aware that uncooperative vendors don't deserve to have their hardware
supported, but I think that Linux users and Linux itself deserves the support.


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