I’ve got a quick trigger finger

May 21, 2008

I was reading a new article on Tom’s hardware about the current state of USB-driven displays when I showed off my lightning-like reflexes halfway through this line:

“if you are wondering about Linux, we will have to disappoint you: DisplayLink is very cautious about its intellectual property, which means that it can’t open source most of its code. Don’t expect Linux support anytime soon.”

With a response that any Jeopardy contestant would be proud of, I jumped to another page on another site; I actually felt enough guilt to go back and read the rest of the sentence to make sure I wasn’t erroneously coming to some inaccurate conclusion.  I didn’t, so I moved on.

Much like the entertainment industry is slowly and inevitably coming to grips with the expectations of their core consumers (awareness scheduled for roughly the same time as world peace), so too will the I.T. industry.  It was scary how quickly the NOT_INTERESTED variable was set and how automatic it was, how natural it was.

Vendors need to beware: Intellectual Property gains, once thought to be a Competitive Advantage, will continually over time become a negative branding attribute.  Any benefit of DisplayLink’s USB connectivity leadership was immediately overridden with the detriment of their policies.


8 Responses to “I’ve got a quick trigger finger”

  1. Nicolas Says:

    Even though *of course* I’m in favor of open source software, there is another idiot thing in that quote: they *can* have Linux support without open sourcing their code. It’s not like the kernel will refuse to run non-GPL code…

    So it’s pretty stupid they say “we won’t open source our code, which means there won’t be Linux support anytime soon”. If they REALLY don’t want to open source, well big shame on them; but give us a binary driver at least!

  2. Mike Says:

    It’s an attitude like that that gets you marked as an “elitist” or someone who “clings to their ideals” or a “snob” or a “$entity basher”.

    But I actually I applaud you. You (and I, among others) believe in a certain set of ideals concerning Intellectual Property. Since these ideals are not aligned with DisplayLink’s ideals we write them out of our books and wish to spend no more precious time reading about them. I’d call this “standing up for what we believe in”, and not any of those other phrases mentioned above.
    I believe it to be a Good Thing(tm). We each have a certain amount of time & energy to spend and I think we should spend it on things we do believe in.
    Case in point, if the sentence would have read something like “DisplayLink can’t or won’t open their source code.” I’d be willing to dig down and ask the question “why?”. Is it a technical reason, time constraint, upstream legal problem? Those are sometimes things that can be fixed.
    But when it’s a policy about hanging on to it’s intellectual property turn off your brain and give them no more thought until they smarten up. =)
    my two cents worth…

  3. Mike Says:

    oops.. the first sentence was supposed to have (devil advocate) (/devil advocate) tags around it. heh shouldn’t have used angle brackets.

  4. Kevin Says:

    A friend of mine is actually using an USB adapter/device to for external monitor support on his laptop and IIRC he said it was basically just “plugin and xrandr”

    So I guess that there is already a competitor with a good product, not just some intellectual property.

  5. Stefan Says:

    I find myself doing the same thing. High levels of proprietaryness immediately render something ‘uninteresting’.

  6. Kevin Kofler Says:

    No driver is better than a binary driver, because a binary driver removes much of the incentive to write a Free one, which is what we really need.

  7. nag Says:

    nag says : I absolutely agree with this !

  8. implacability says : I absolutely agree with this !

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