Linked by ddc_ on Thu 2nd Feb 2012 23:22 UTC
Slackware, Slax There are different reasons people use Unix-like operating systems, including configurable, availability free of charge, powerful command line interface an many more. Some people are motivated by the moral issue: they reject non-free software. Specifically for such users Free Software Foundation developed Guidelines for Free System Distributions and created the list of absolutely free ("as in freedom") distributions. In this article we are going to look at the most recent entry on the list - Parabola GNU/Linux.
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Nonfree firmware
by antik on Thu 2nd Feb 2012 23:39 UTC
antik
Member since:
2006-05-19

"Some applications and drivers require firmware to function, and sometimes that firmware is distributed only in object code form, under a nonfree license. We call these firmware programs “blobs.” On most GNU/Linux systems, you'll typically find these accompanying some drivers in the kernel Linux. Such firmware should be removed from a free system distribution."

In old days all add-on cards had programmable memory on board to carry device firmware- nobody knew what license it had, now, to reduce costs there is no memory chip and all firmware is loaded into computer memory from module of kernel itself. Why cripple perfectly working hardware because of some "Freedom Nazis"?

That's why I don't use Debian anymore on any server (exception is virtualization) - because it just won't work.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Nonfree firmware
by No it isnt on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 08:20 UTC in reply to "Nonfree firmware"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

How about just enabling the non-free repository and install the firmware from there? You don't seem very competent.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Nonfree firmware
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 08:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Nonfree firmware"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

How do you enable the repo to get the firmware when your wireless doesn't work?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Nonfree firmware
by No it isnt on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 08:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nonfree firmware"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

If you have to ask, you probably should get someone else to set up the computer for you, but OK: 1) You can search for and download the package from packages.debian.org, put it on a USB stick and go; 2) you can use USB tethering and a mobile phone; 3) some other way. It doesn't take a genius, and is still easier than installing Windows on most computers.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Nonfree firmware
by Laurence on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 09:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nonfree firmware"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

If you have to ask, you probably should get someone else to set up the computer for you, but OK: 1) You can search for and download the package from packages.debian.org, put it on a USB stick and go; 2) you can use USB tethering and a mobile phone; 3) some other way. It doesn't take a genius, and is still easier than installing Windows on most computers.


Sadly the good point you had raised was over-shadowed by unnecessary condescension. There really wasn't any need for that kind of attitude.

Also, nobody said anything about Windows. There are other Linux distros that are perfectly good on servers and include non-free firmware. However I'm more puzzled why anyone would want to run a server off wireless (except maybe if it was a router, but then you'd use DD-WRT rather than Debian anyway)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Nonfree firmware
by No it isnt on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 09:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nonfree firmware"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

I'm only condescending because the person I replied to was being deliberately obtuse. I don't believe for a second that he couldn't think of a solution on his own.

The comparison to Windows was to draw a parallel to something most people accept using.

Edited 2012-02-03 09:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Nonfree firmware
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 09:40 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Nonfree firmware"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I'm only condescending because the person I replied to was being deliberately obtuse. I don't believe for a second that he couldn't think of a solution on his own.


The point was that you seemed to miss is ... if you are going to use the firmware blob eventually anyway, why not use a distro that included them in the first place? Rather than mucking about getting them later on anyway?

Edited 2012-02-03 09:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Nonfree firmware
by No it isnt on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 09:41 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Nonfree firmware"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

That wasn't the point you were making.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Nonfree firmware
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 09:38 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nonfree firmware"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I used wireless as an example as most wireless cards need a blob to work, but you could substitute that with ethernet.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Nonfree firmware
by turrini on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 11:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nonfree firmware"
turrini Member since:
2006-10-31
RE[4]: Nonfree firmware
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 14:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nonfree firmware"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

:D

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nonfree firmware
by tonny on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 19:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nonfree firmware"
tonny Member since:
2011-12-22

Thanks 4 the info.. ;)
Bookmarking it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Nonfree firmware
by BluenoseJake on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 20:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nonfree firmware"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Plug it in to the network for a few minutes?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Nonfree firmware
by r_a_trip on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 12:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Nonfree firmware"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

How about just enabling the non-free repository and install the firmware from there?

Why jump through unnecesarry hoops on an artificially crippled machine to just go and "taint" it anyways? Just to satisfy an academic desire for ideological purity?

There is nothing wrong with aggregating these distributable blobs on the disk itself and ask the user if he wants to "taint" his system with non-free firmware during setup. Enabling the non-free repositories after the fact is the same principle, just a lot more user hostile. All just for the privilege of claiming that the base OS doesn't contain non-free software and still being blasted by RMS for the existence of a non-free repository.

So purely Free Distro's are generally a crippled PITA on current hardware and every moderate distro is a breeze to use, with all hardware supported out of the box.

Firmware is practically hardware. A firmware blob only works on the device it is intended for. In the off chance that flipping a few bits around in these files suddenly makes a scsi controller produce ponies and rainbows, we can probably agree that is an advantage we can live without.

This "everything FOSS or die" stance doesn't really make sense in the case of firmware. RMS himself has indicated that he wouldn't care one iota about it if that same firmware was just burned indelibly into ROM. So this isn't truly about being able to study and modify the firmware. This is just the academic case of "the vendor can modify it, so we should be able to do so too".

Before anybody trots out the "We don't know what that firmware does and with a Free Software license we can study it". Just let the above sink in. If the firmware spies on you, kills kittens and makes Whoville women pregnant, that is only an issue when it is distributed as a blob. As soon as it is burned fixed into ROM, it doesn't concern Free Software according to RMS.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Nonfree firmware
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 14:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nonfree firmware"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

+1 Internets.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nonfree firmware
by spiderman on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 08:24 UTC in reply to "Nonfree firmware"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

I like to know that my servers aren't crippled with crapware and spying software calling home and other anti user features and conflicts of interest.
I don't review all the code, mind you but I trust the vendors that give the code more, because it's like "here is the software, without malware and other crap, and here is the code to prove it", instead of "here is the software, without malware and other crap, but don't look at it too closely or we will sue you".

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Nonfree firmware
by Wafflez on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 08:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Nonfree firmware"
Wafflez Member since:
2011-06-26

Oh, dear...

Linux users are... strange.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Nonfree firmware
by tonny on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 11:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nonfree firmware"
tonny Member since:
2011-12-22

Oh dear,
You are.. strange.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Nonfree firmware
by geertjan on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 16:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nonfree firmware"
geertjan Member since:
2010-10-29

Isn't there a way to change your comment-vote on OSNews? I accidentally voted Informative.

Edited 2012-02-03 16:12 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE: Nonfree firmware
by sakeniwefu on Sat 4th Feb 2012 10:34 UTC in reply to "Nonfree firmware"
sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26

In old days all add-on cards had programmable memory on board to carry device firmware- nobody knew what license it had, now, to reduce costs there is no memory chip and all firmware is loaded into computer memory from module of kernel itself.


Thet's true and I tend to agree with the OpenBSD view.

Furthermore, while I don't know by which Law, I assume it's actually illegal to sell fully open radio transmitters as it'd be a quick way to make money with a cheaper product with 0 software development cost. Providing the firmware source on GPLv3 terms would basically mean that, so it just can't be.

However, as soon as vendors start calling iOS, Android or Windows 8 "firmware", it starts getting scary. As long as owning unlocked computing devices isn't illegal, I guess there's going to be something people like me to use, but the end of open mass produced computers is nigh.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nonfree firmware
by bert64 on Mon 6th Feb 2012 13:28 UTC in reply to "Nonfree firmware"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

Indeed, most hardware has firmware and most of it is proprietary... Even processors now have microcode.
The need for firmware loaders is purely down to reducing cost, as its cheaper than putting a flash chip on every piece of hardware.

So long as the interface to load the firmware, as well as the driver itself is open and the firmware only executes on the hardware itself and not on the host system it's not any worse then having it stored on the device itself. If anything it's possible an improvement since it becomes easier to modify the firmware.

That said, i would still prefer a device with open firmware, but do any such devices exist?

Reply Score: 2

I understand the choices expect for one
by Lennie on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 00:35 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

encourages the use of non-free Software as a service (Google SafeBrowsing)


What is wrong with Google SafeBrowsing exactly ?

It occasionally downloads a database from Google, which blocks websites (which can still be bypassed) is created by, among others, people working at a university who do security research (if I remember correctly).

Maybe there is something wrong with the license of the database ?

Reply Score: 2

ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

I remember hearing somewhere that each browser project has to get explicit permission from Google to use the SafeBrowsing database. That's probably the issue.

Reply Score: 2

Firmware
by zztaz on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 02:03 UTC
zztaz
Member since:
2006-09-16

If I'm not going to ask for the source for the firmware burned into a ROM, I'm not going to ask for the source for the equivalent loaded into RAM.

I will ask for a license to freely redistribute the binaries, which I believe is the OpenBSD policy. The ROM is not likely to become separated from the hardware and lost, but it's all too easy for that to happen with loadable blobs. Companies merge or go out of business, web sites change, please let me use Google to find that blob I need to use the hardware.

Reply Score: 5

Rant
by HappyGod on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 02:55 UTC
HappyGod
Member since:
2005-10-19

As a software developer the whole "proprietary software is illegal" thing really pi$$es me off.

Writing software is what I do for a living. If these people had their way, my job wouldn't exist.

And it should exist. App developers work damn hard to keep their skills up to date, and to write quality, bug free software. Why should the product of months (sometimes years) of hard graft not be allowed to be sold for profit?

I have nothing against FOSS, in fact I really want it to succeed. But there's room for both types of software, and to rule out things like device drivers is totally nuts.

Edited 2012-02-03 02:56 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Rant
by Soulbender on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 04:20 UTC in reply to "Rant"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

App developers work damn hard to keep their skills up to date, and to write quality, bug free software.


Like...Skype and Kazaaaaaaaaa and comet cursors and bonzai buddy? ;)
Just pulling your leg though...

But there's room for both types of software, and to rule out things like device drivers is totally nuts.


Yeah, this thing annoys me too. I use almost only FOSS software but if someone wants to sell their closed-code for profit that's none of my business. I'll probably never buy their product in a million years but that's my choice.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Rant
by r_a_trip on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 09:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Rant"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

I use almost only FOSS software but if someone wants to sell their closed-code for profit that's none of my business. I'll probably never buy their product in a million years but that's my choice.

But that is the point entirely. FSF is not trying to get proprietary software outlawed. It is trying to get people to see the benefits of FOSS only.

The outcome is still the same though. If the majority of consumers forego proprietary for FOSS, there won't be much of a proprietary market left.

As an aside: Distributions are free to follow the FSF guidelines or not. So all pure FOSS distro's do so of their own volition.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Rant
by Soulbender on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 10:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Rant"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Yes, this news item isn't the right venue for this discussion. Parabola doesn't seem to be part of the nut-ball brigade.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Rant
by fithisux on Sat 4th Feb 2012 07:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Rant"
fithisux Member since:
2006-01-22

I'll probably never buy their product in a million years but that's my choice.



with drivers you have no choice. If the blobs are not platform specific they count as firmware. Otherwise it is anti-competitive, immoral and possibly illegal.

It seems that UEFI would solve this problem with bytecode drivers in UEFI. But don't hold your breath. If the process is not standardized with standard cross-platform exported interfaces (but with user-space blobs), it would mean the death of FOSS.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Rant
by MacTO on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 05:59 UTC in reply to "Rant"
MacTO Member since:
2006-09-21

Developers and users have every right to be upset about Free Software extremism.

I do appreciate Free Software, but anyone who is telling others what to use or what to develop for is definitely stepping out of line.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Rant
by ricegf on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 13:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Rant"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

You mean like Apple telling developers targeting certain of its systems which tools to use?

What I'm missing is why FSF promoting a certain license philosophy, clearly defining what they mean, and then providing a list of certain products that conform to that philosophy for those who want to adhere to it is worse than a corporation promoting a certain license type and enforcing it in their market space by banning non-compliant software.

In both cases you get the same choice - don't use their products or recommended products.

I'm fine with both Apple (I use an iPad) and FSF (I use various Linux products on a lot of systems, and release some of my own software under GPL) as long as I still have a choice.

Can you clarify why you are upset?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Rant
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 07:31 UTC in reply to "Rant"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

As a software developer the whole "proprietary software is illegal" thing really pi$$es me off.

Writing software is what I do for a living. If these people had their way, my job wouldn't exist.

And it should exist. App developers work damn hard to keep their skills up to date, and to write quality, bug free software. Why should the product of months (sometimes years) of hard graft not be allowed to be sold for profit?



No one is saying that. There are people that want libre software. There is nothing in any FSF license that prohibits anyone from selling the resulting product for money. There are people who do want all of their software to be libre-free. What's wrong with that? If you were supreme emperor of the world, would you ban free ( either libre or beer free) software?

I have nothing against FOSS, in fact I really want it to succeed. But there's room for both types of software, and to rule out things like device drivers is totally nuts.


By the other section of your comment, its kind of clear that you feel that FOSS is out to get you. In any case, its clear that Parabola isn't for you. Great. If there is room for both, then what the heck was the point of your comment? Live and let live. You have your choice from a complete no free software at all Operating system ( Windows) to do what ever the heck you want with it ( FreeBSD) to do everything with it except abuse other people's ability to do the same ( Debian Linux Parabola,etc).

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Rant
by Soulbender on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 08:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Rant"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

No one is saying that.


Yes there are those saying that but Parabola isn't one of them, IIRC.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Rant
by r_a_trip on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 09:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Rant"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes there are those saying that [snip]

Yes, but are those nutters in any position to influence lawmakers? My guess is they aren't.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Rant
by gan17 on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 15:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Rant"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

Never underestimate!! Many nutters ARE today's lawmakers.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Rant
by r_a_trip on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 17:20 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Rant"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

That maybe, but getting a whole cabal to decide to allow one type of license and not another is a bit of a stretch.

*** To all those who deemed it necessary to mod me down. With nutters I meant people supporting outlawing all licenses but copyleft. I can't, for the life of me, imagine that that is a majority position nor a tenable one.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Rant
by Soulbender on Sat 4th Feb 2012 10:03 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Rant"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I can't, for the life of me, imagine that that is a majority position nor a tenable one.


Well, since we both got modded down maybe it is ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Rant
by r_a_trip on Sat 4th Feb 2012 13:34 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Rant"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

LOL

Reply Score: 1

v RE[2]: Rant
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 08:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Rant"
RE[3]: Rant
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 14:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Rant"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

No, I've never heard any argument for why it should be illegal to sell software. That isn't anywhere on the FSF website, and characterizes a common misconception amongst people about libre-free software.


It sort of is like your priest example, as in, its based on a complete misunderstanding of reality. Priests (choose any religion that has a caste that calls themselves priest) don't do that, and never really have. Now, there are crazy religious zealots that do that, maybe even a few that would call themselves ministers, but not priests. You're blaming the wrong people. Just as the original poster didn't understand free-libre software.

The point is, you should at least *try* to understand things *before* getting pissed off about it. If for no other reason to be able to cary on an intelligent conversation and/or rant at the correct people.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Rant
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 15:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Rant"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

No, I've never heard any argument for why it should be illegal to sell software. That isn't anywhere on the FSF website, and characterizes a common misconception amongst people about libre-free software.


They say that they believe all software should be GPL or compatible.

If you are an independant developer creating bespoke software you are likely to have a contract with a third party anyway.

If the software isn't bespoke, you and you release it as GPL, you won't make anymoney from selling it ... because someone else will just take the source and redistribute it. You might be able to make money from support, but it has to be a pretty large program, otherwise another entity will easy just undercut you on support.

It is about whether they are arguing against selling software, it is that they are campaigning that software must be released with this license otherwise you are infringing on the user's rights, however it isn't easily possible to make money. Even Stallman admits this on the FSF.org

“Probably programming will not be as lucrative on the new basis as it is now”


http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html

It sort of is like your priest example, as in, its based on a complete misunderstanding of reality. Priests (choose any religion that has a caste that calls themselves priest) don't do that, and never really have. Now, there are crazy religious zealots that do that, maybe even a few that would call themselves ministers, but not priests. You're blaming the wrong people. Just as the original poster didn't understand free-libre software.


Except the FSF is run by an extremist.

The point is, you should at least *try* to understand things *before* getting pissed off about it. If for no other reason to be able to cary on an intelligent conversation and/or rant at the correct people.


He does, you are nitpicking about the details. He was close enough as much as it matters. It constantly irritates me, that anyone that supports open source will say "well nobody said that exactly".

And tbh if the differences are this easily misunderstood by people in the profession ... how is anyone outside of the software engineering going to understand the nuances?

Just go to ubuntu Forums, you have lots of new Linux users arguing about freedomz to see the source code ... many of them have never written a line of code.

In 2004 I was admittantly was one of them.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Rant
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 17:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Rant"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, now we are down to facts and a reasonable argument. This is progress.


He does, you are nitpicking about the details. He was close enough as much as it matters. It constantly irritates me, that anyone that supports open source will say "well nobody said that exactly".


I'm not nitpicking, it matters. If the FSF were actually saying that selling software should be illegal, I would never use anything they produced. So, it definitely does matter to me, and I would imagine others as well.



Call me crazy, but there is a world of difference between

"Its illegal to do X."

Vs

"Its hard to do X, but legal to try"




And tbh if the differences are this easily misunderstood by people in the profession ... how is anyone outside of the software engineering going to understand the nuances?


Not sure what you are arguing here. Yes the nuances are difficult to explain to people in the profession, that's why they need to be explained instead of ignored. Because they matter.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Rant
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 18:31 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Rant"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

No instead they demand you use a license that makes it more difficult to make money, unless you already have pots of cash. I think it amounts to almost the same thing.

Richard Stallman doesn't like software professionals. Stallman is a professional speaker, I actually applaud him for being able to convince the enough people that he can make a living talking about how the author keeping hold of his source code is taking away your human rights.

Secondly I will say it again, if a software engineer apparently find it difficult to understand the difference, there is no hope someone outside of the professional will understand it, and I don't think they should ever have to be tasked with understanding the value of something they didn't care about enough in the first place to research themselves.

I had problems explaining to people that worked in the same department as me what the problems are (and they are somewhat technically minded but in a different discipline).

Hell half the time, software engineers don't understand how it works. A lot of what a software engineer does is basically completely fictional and is a construct of our imaginations. Then we have imaginary processes and we test these things using another imaginary construct.

That was originally based on maths at some point in time (There was a time when people thought that all software would be written by mathematicians).

I will say it again as you glazed over it. There are many people on the internet demanding the source for this that and the other that have no experience in the software industry and have never written code.

What are they going to do with it? Hang it on a wall? Sing it at Church? What?

To use the old car analogy. Nobody except enthusiasts care what happens when you press the gas pedal. But everyone cares when it goes wrong.

Edited 2012-02-03 18:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Rant
by Valhalla on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 19:17 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Rant"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

No instead they demand you use a license that makes it more difficult to make money, unless you already have pots of cash.

Who is making money off the BSD's? Oh those poor companies Apple, Cisco, Juniper, yes totally unlike those companies making money out off GPL licenced code.

Richard Stallman doesn't like software professionals.

FSF employs people to write software. GCC (software flagship of FSF) is developed by full-time software professionals hired by a large number of companies.

Secondly I will say it again, if a software engineer apparently find it difficult to understand the difference,

Obviously not all 'software engineers' are created equal because being a programmer and working with programmers all day I can say that it's not a hard concept. If someone can understand the concept of 'if you use this code in your project you have to pay me', then they can grasp the concept of [i]'if you use this code in your project you have to release the source code of your project'.[/]

Reply Score: 2

RE: Rant
by Laurence on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 09:36 UTC in reply to "Rant"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

As a software developer the whole "proprietary software is illegal" thing really pi$$es me off.

Writing software is what I do for a living. If these people had their way, my job wouldn't exist.

And it should exist. App developers work damn hard to keep their skills up to date, and to write quality, bug free software. Why should the product of months (sometimes years) of hard graft not be allowed to be sold for profit?

I have nothing against FOSS, in fact I really want it to succeed. But there's room for both types of software, and to rule out things like device drivers is totally nuts.


I think you're missing the point.

You said yourself that there's room for both types of software and this is one that caters for the free market.

If you sat down and thought about it, Windows massively outsells Linux and OS X isn't doing too badly these days either. Thus the non-free market is covered. So distributions like this are not trying to lot the downfall of Windows nor OS X (such a comment would be absurd), they're just offering users the option of other extreme.

As you said yourself, there's room for both. So I wouldn't get upset by it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Rant
by Risthel on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 10:04 UTC in reply to "Rant"
Risthel Member since:
2010-12-22

>>>> Why should the product of months (sometimes years) of hard
>>>> graft not be allowed to be sold for profit?

You think you don't know what is Free Software mate...
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

"...Many people believe that the spirit of the GNU Project is that you should not charge money for distributing copies of software, or that you should charge as little as possible — just enough to cover the cost. This is a misunderstanding...."

"...Distributing free software is an opportunity to raise funds for development. Don't waste it!..."

It's not about allowing or not to be SOLD for profit. It's about having or not a copy of the source code with the binaries. That's all.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Rant
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 10:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Rant"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

http://penguinday.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/only-become-less/

The GPL is especially harmful against aspiring software developers. With BSD, you can take it, make it better, and sell it. Not with the GPL. (yes, you can sell it, but soon you will compete against a free as in beer modified version of your own program) For a small company, the best way to make money is selling licenses, the whole “make money through services” works best with big companies.


This is essentially what Oracle are doing with Unbreakable Linux, sell a RHEL but rebadged at a lower cost.

The whole thing is setup so you can't make a profit.

http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/bsdl-gpl/articl...

A less publicized and unintended use of the GPL is that it is very favorable to large companies that want to undercut software companies. In other words, the GPL is well suited for use as a marketing weapon, potentially reducing overall economic benefit and contributing to monopolistic behavior.


Edited 2012-02-03 10:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Rant
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 15:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Rant"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, at least these are arguments based on the facts. Having Free/Open source software no more guarantees a profit than closed source software.

Oracle is actually a poor choice for a comparison, they are really going to differentiate their linux offering from RHEL ( BTRFS, DTrace, ect).

A better example is Xfree86. They developed the first open source x11 server, only to have the industry take what they did and improve it 10 fold without their input after they had a hissy fit over licensing. However, I don't think they would have been as big as they were had it not been Open source in the first place. Those willing to plumb the depths of video card hardware wouldn't be willing to contribute it freely to a non free project, and I don't think a single company would have paid them to do it.

Maybe there are some pieces of software that are best open, and others that are best not open? Or maybe the lesson of Xfee86 is that you can't be a a**hole to people that are smarter and better funded than you and keep control of your project.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Rant
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 15:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Rant"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Oracle is actually a poor choice for a comparison, they are really going to differentiate their linux offering from RHEL ( BTRFS, DTrace, ect).


It did however begin as Larry promising 100% RHEL compatibility.

Maybe there are some pieces of software that are best open, and others that are best not open?


Precisely. I will be releasing my dissertation (written three years ago) as MIT or similar license, it doesn't make sense for me to release it as anything else.

However there is another project that I am currently working on that will be released that will require a license to be purchased.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Rant
by Vanders on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 19:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Rant"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

This is essentially what Oracle are doing with Unbreakable Linux, sell a RHEL but rebadged at a lower cost.


Oracle aren't exactly hurting RHEL. I've yet to run into anyone who's actually using Unbreakable Linux, let alone considering switching from RHEL to Unbreakable.

The whole thing is setup so you can't make a profit.


Sure thing.

http://investors.redhat.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=559647

Fourth quarter revenue of $245 million, up 25% year-over-year
Fourth quarter subscription revenue of $209 million, up 24% year-over-year
For the full year, total revenue was $909.3 million, an increase of 22% over the prior year

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Rant
by lucas_maximus on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 20:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Rant"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Redhat are the exception to the rule.

Please give me an example of a small number of developers that are making substantial profit via the GPL (we are talking less than 50)?

Edited 2012-02-03 20:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Rant
by Vanders on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 20:39 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Rant"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

Two companies that spring to mind are Opscode and Puppet Labs. Would you care to move the goalposts again?

Edited 2012-02-03 20:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Rant
by tonny on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 12:08 UTC in reply to "Rant"
tonny Member since:
2011-12-22

Mr. Good Sir,

1st) It's about choices.
2nd) I sell my open source php & mysql code for profit. I get money from selling it, and they get the final result + the code. They can do what they want with it (+ I gave the source code quite good documentation too). So.. open source and profit.
3rd) Be confident with your skill, sir.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Rant
by ricegf on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 13:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Rant"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

And from the other side of the market, I've contacted the author of a GPL program (listed in the header of the source) and contracted to add features I needed to fulfill my web contract.

He made money. I made money. Why are some people so mad about that?

Proprietary isn't the only software business model.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Rant
by wannabe geek on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 16:33 UTC in reply to "Rant"
wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

As a software developer the whole "proprietary software is illegal" thing really pi$$es me off.


First, please let me make a technical point. They say that all software should be FOSS. That doesn't mean making anything illegal. If software licenses were based on contract law, that would indeed make some kind of contracts illegal. But the fact is that copyright is not based on contract law, it's simply a legal monopoly. When you abolish a legal monopoly, you don't make anything illegal, you make legal what was previously illegal. On the other hand, if someone wants to abolish NDAs, then yes, that would be making something illegal.


Writing software is what I do for a living. If these people had their way, my job wouldn't exist.



There would still be custom software and SaaS. Google makes a lot of money with unreleased software.



And it should exist. App developers work damn hard to keep their skills up to date, and to write quality, bug free software. Why should the product of months (sometimes years) of hard graft not be allowed to be sold for profit?



No question about that.

Reply Score: 2

Slackware
by Soulbender on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 05:06 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

Why is the icon for this item Slackware? Neither Parabola nor Arch is based on Slackware or has any relation to it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Slackware
by orestes on Sat 4th Feb 2012 22:18 UTC in reply to "Slackware"
orestes Member since:
2005-07-06

Indeed. I propose something more akin to a tux-ified Tribble.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Wafflez
by Wafflez on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 08:57 UTC
Wafflez
Member since:
2011-06-26

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3mDLsyn6ns

BINARY DRIVERS... DARK SIDED! DAAAARK SIDEEEEED!

:D

Seriously, any kind of fanatism or extremism just isn't that good.

Reply Score: 1

Google SafeBrowsing is free software
by wannabe geek on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 09:41 UTC
wannabe geek
Member since:
2006-09-27


encourages the use of non-free Software as a service (Google SafeBrowsing)


But SafeBrowsing is SaaS, so it's unreleased, so it's private software, right?

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/categories.html



Private software


Private or custom software is software developed for one user (typically an organization or company). That user keeps it and uses it, and does not release it to the public either as source code or as binaries.

A private program is free software in a trivial sense if its sole user has full rights to it.

In general we do not believe it is wrong to develop a program and not release it. There are occasions when a program is so useful that withholding it from release is treating humanity badly. However, most programs are not that important, so not releasing them is not particularly harmful. Thus, there is no conflict between the development of private or custom software and the principles of the free software movement.

Nearly all employment for programmers is in development of custom software; therefore most programming jobs are, or could be, done in a way compatible with the free software movement.


QED

Reply Score: 2

Freedom
by Risthel on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 10:02 UTC
Risthel
Member since:
2010-12-22

A half of the blacklisted packages i have installed on my pc, or old notebooks. And that's annoying call the package "your-freedom".

FSF created a meaning for the words "Free Software", calling a package "your-freedom", and denies the user the ability of use the way he wants his OS...

..why not call it "fsf-compilant-base"? It's a way more ridiculous than using your freedom and blocking all the non-free packages.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Freedom
by ricegf on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 13:29 UTC in reply to "Freedom"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

FSF... denies the user the ability of use the way he wants his OS...


I missed the part where FSF is forcing any user to install a given package or product on his computer.

If a user chooses to install a package, isn't FSF giving him "the ability of use the way he wants his OS"?

Reply Score: 6

What's the point?
by znby on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 10:03 UTC
znby
Member since:
2012-02-03

The last I checked, it's possible to set up an Arch installation without the packages listed in the blacklist, and once the system is set up, no one is forcing you to install those packages... I appreciate people's concerns in regards to proprietary software, but do distros like this really solve any problem?

Reply Score: 1

Comment by foregam
by foregam on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 11:11 UTC
foregam
Member since:
2010-11-17

Holy spit, xlsfonts is not free! I feel filthy!

Reply Score: 2

syslog-ng
by pczanik on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 11:59 UTC
pczanik
Member since:
2006-03-17

I see, that syslog-ng ist still on the list. These guys never contacted us, just started to throw off syslog-ng, because they did not like the license of our man pages. I found the related bugtracker entry just by accident.

The license is now changed and even XML sources are now available (that was a request from Debian), so I wonder when we will be dropped from this list...

CzP from syslog-ng upstream

Reply Score: 6

It's probably safe to click, but...
by Johann Chua on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 12:46 UTC
Johann Chua
Member since:
2005-07-22

...I'm really reluctant to allow exceptions for flagged "secure" connections. What's wrong with using plain HTTP instead of HTTPS when they know their certificate might not be recognized by most browsers?

Reply Score: 3

Experience using a free software OS
by drcouzelis on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 15:09 UTC
drcouzelis
Member since:
2010-01-11

I used an operating system that contained only free software (gNewSense) for most of a year. It was a great experience.

The biggest lesson I learned was in regards to the state of free software: I can choose to use an entire operating system and a huge selection of applications made entirely of software that respects my freedom (as defined by the FSF). That alone amazed me.

My biggest disappointment was to learn that there are no video cards for desktop computers that support hardware accelerated graphics using only free software. But, I don't do any gaming on my computer that would require that, so it wasn't really an issue.

In regards to the final question:

If my hardware would allow, I would probably stick with Parabola. How about you?

This question sounds a little funny, as if it's coming from the wrong angle. Free software (as opposed to open source software) is not about convenience, or choosing to use it because "my hardware would allow" it.

Instead, free software is about deciding that software freedom is more important than convenience, or even more important than using the best technical solution. Nobody would stick with a FSF endorsed operating system (including yourself), UNLESS free software was important to them. Since this article seems to be more about the technical aspects of Parabola GNU/Linux (which is not a complaint!) and less about free software, this question seems a bit out of place.

Epilogue: I eventually decided that using an operating system that was easier to maintain and had more current software packages was more important to me than software freedom. I've now been using Arch Linux for two years. Free software is still important to me, and I greatly value the lessons I learned while using a free software operating system.

Reply Score: 2

Technical decision
by bfr99 on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 15:19 UTC
bfr99
Member since:
2007-03-15

I base my software decisions on technical and financial factors not legal opinions. In fact, I generally ignore obscure legal documents. If I were interested in the interpretation of legal documents I would have become a lawyer instead of an engineer. So sue me.

Reply Score: 1

v bullshit
by qwaszx on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 16:41 UTC
*Sigh*
by ToddB on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 16:45 UTC
ToddB
Member since:
2012-01-25

The GPL thing has always irked me (its one of the most confusing and verbose licenses to read). The use of the word free and then claiming it is freedom is so misleading. Their definition of freedom is if I want to modify their program for my personal use I am obligated/forced "The opposite of freedom" to make that available. This only applies to the source code not the binaries. Then you have people coming to projects that are BSD licensed and begging/spamming maintainer to change to GPL license. Open Sourcing an application is only useful to a programmer, not the general populace. I know RMS believes everyone should be a programmer, modify software to work as they want it then commit the changes back. I personally just want software that works, if I have to pay for it thats fine. The whole FOSS, firmware thing is just a pointless debate. The user will install what they need to get their system working, and by not including ability to get firmware you are just making the users life more difficult not helping him. For what benefit?

Reply Score: 0

RE: *Sigh*
by drcouzelis on Fri 3rd Feb 2012 18:59 UTC in reply to "*Sigh*"
drcouzelis Member since:
2010-01-11

Their definition of freedom is if I want to modify their program for my personal use I am obligated/forced "The opposite of freedom" to make that available.


That's incorrect.

You may do whatever you want with the source code of GPL software for personal use. If you decide to modify it AND distribute it, then the GPL states that you need to provide the source code of the changes you made.

Open Sourcing an application is only useful to a programmer, not the general populace. I know RMS believes everyone should be a programmer, modify software to work as they want it then commit the changes back. I personally just want software that works, if I have to pay for it thats fine.


With free and open source software, I have the freedom to modify the software myself or pay anyone else to do it. This is useful for everyone, not just programmers.

Richard Stallman doesn't believe everyone should be a programmer.

As for you wanting software that works even if you have to pay for it, cost isn't really relative to this article. There's nothing preventing you from selling or purchasing free and open source software.

Reply Score: 3

RE: *Sigh*
by KenJackson on Sat 4th Feb 2012 17:21 UTC in reply to "*Sigh*"
KenJackson Member since:
2005-07-18

Open Sourcing an application is only useful to a programmer, not the general populace.

Netscape Navigator is the poster child for proprietary software that adopted the free software model. And IIRC, Firefox was forked from Navigator when Firefox's authors became unhappy with Navigator's stagnation.

The result is IMO the best browser available. Everyone that likes Firefox has benefited greatly from Netscape's decision.

The argument could even be made that IE users have benefited from the Firefox fork. Would IE have ever developed tabbed browsing without it?

Reply Score: 2

App firmware?
by Soulbender on Sat 4th Feb 2012 10:08 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

Some applications and drivers require firmware to function


What *applications* require firmware? I'm really curious about this one.

Reply Score: 2