Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 18th Apr 2006 17:49 UTC
Linux Efforts to bring glitzy new graphics to Linux are fueling an old conflict: Does proprietary software belong in open-source Linux? The issue involves software modules called drivers, which plug into the kernel at the heart of the open-source operating system. Drivers let software communicate with hardware such as network adapters, hard drives and video cards.
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RE: I'm all for it.
by jchildrose on Tue 18th Apr 2006 19:19 UTC in reply to "I'm all for it."
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Using proprietary drivers sort of defeats the purpose of having a free software operating system in the first place. Proprietary drivers would be a great short term fix. I would love to not have to futz around with to get my creaky old Radeon working properly every time I upgrade my system. In the long term though, it leads to the same problems that exisited which precipitated the founding of the GNU project, and the FSF, as well as creating some interesting new ones.

I understand that both Nvidia and ATI are trying to protect their intellectual property (I feel dirty just typing that), and agree with their stances to some extent. But, the reality is is that these drivers are running deep in the GPL'ed kernel territory - which is exactly where they should not be if they are proprietary and not free software.

Maybe the answer is to provide some sort of userland driver functionality for proprietary drivers. Keep them out of the kernel, and thus they stay proprietary. Granted, there will likely be some performance issues compared to using kernel drivers, but it's the best of both worlds. The GPL purists are happy that the code is not in the kernel (although still not thrilled about the existense of proprietary drivers), and the respective companies get to protect their whatever.

Besides, the ATI and Nvidia proprietary drivers, frankly, are not that great. I will grant you that as far as 3d acceleration goes they blow the pants of the drivers that come with a standard Linux distro, but they can be buggy, are slow to support brand spanking new hardware, and generally don't support older video cards either.

Anyway, just my .02. Take it for what it's worth.

PS - use oggs instead of mp3s -it's free software ;)

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