Not everyone in the world of free and open source software praised Greg Kroah-Hartman’s Free Linux Driver Development! offer (and see his later clarification in Free Linux Driver Development Questions and Answers!). Specifically, the OpenBSD project criticized the offer to work on free drivers under NDA.
As I argued in Pragmatic Questions about Binary-Only Drivers, open specifications are more valuable than even unencumbered source code from a hardware manufacturer. Drivers developed under NDA introduce a maintenance risk–what if the developer under NDA cannot or will not continue to maintain the driver? Reverse engineering the code may be less difficult than reverse engineering hardware alone, but NDAs do (deliberately!) lock up important knowledge.
Some of that knowledge may be more than important to supporting that hardware on free and open systems. It might be necessary.
I fail to accept most of the common apologies for driver NDAs, as well. The real, long-term, pragmatic solution is to remove the possibility of using anti-competitive weapons as a normal part of doing business.
Perhaps writing drivers under NDA is a workable short-term step to important hardware support. Yet it’s not the end goal, and technical evangelism and pressure should not stop there.