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[3]: So What's the Problem?
by archiesteel on Wed 19th Apr 2006 02:52 UTC
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I conditionally agree with you. I find it really difficult to swallow that a group can proclaim that Linux is open and free, as well as chant one of the most attractive things is that you can customise the system if it doesn't do exactly what you want, but then be so against allowing people the choice of adopting non-free or non-open software.

The position of the FSF is not that people shouldn't be allowed to choose non-free or non-open software. By claiming this you are misrepresenting their position. They are not against choice, i.e. taking away people's rights, rather they promote one of these choices.

It really seems to be a contradiction of mindsets.

Not really. One can be for freedom of speech and yet advocate a position. Advocating a position doesn't mean you want to silence opposing viewpoints, it means you want to convince other people to join your point in view (as opposed to using coercitive measures).

I do think however that compiling the drivers directly into the kernel would be a confusion of licensing and IP but that shouldn't prohibit people loading the drivers as a seperate entity.

As is exactly the case now. Of course it's a minor annoyance for users - I'd rather have 3D ATI drivers included in my kernel package when I update it, but that's not legally possible. As usual with free software, simple workarounds have developed around this annoyance.

It seems to me that in this particular instance the adoption of Linux distributions is being (or could be) hampered by the bothering of upholding to the strictest degree of what some believe Linux is about.

However, no one's going to tell you what you can or can't do with your software for your personal use. I've always used Linux with proprietary NVIDIA or ATI drivers, and I don't feel like I'm any less of a Linux advocate. Just ask sappyvcv, he'll tell you how enthusiastic I am about it... :-)

I guess that's also the point. If Linux is meant to be so open and free (from constraint) then why on earth would you want to restrict people from being able to experience it to the fullest?

No one is talking of restricting anyone. Purists can argue their case, and it is their right, just like you and me have the right to disagree. There aren't, however, any restriction on how someone can use the software. That's the beauty of open source and free software.

Just because Stallman doesn't think you should use proprietary software means that he would support making free software mandatory. There's a huge difference between the two positions, I hope you can see it.

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