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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Binary blob

In the free software community, binary blob is a pejorative term for an object file loaded into the kernel of a open source operating system without publicly available source code. The term is not usually applied to code running outside the kernel, for example BIOS code, firmware images, or userland programs.
When computer hardware vendors provide complete technical documentation for their products, operating system developers are able to write hardware device drivers to be included in the operating system kernels. However, some vendors, such as NVIDIA, do not provide complete documentation for some of their products and instead provide binary-only drivers (binary blobs); this practice is most common for accelerated graphics drivers, networking devices and RAID controllers.[1]

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