Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Nov 2010 22:24 UTC, submitted by koki
GNU, GPL, Open Source Now this is interesting. We see what is at its core a very valid concern, in practice not a problem to anyone, and, thanks to the tone of the press release, close to trolling. The Free Software Foundation Latin America is complaining about something that has been known for a while - there is some non-Free code stuck in the Linux kernel (mostly firmware). A valid issue of concern from an idealogical viewpoint, but sadly, the tone of the press release turns this valid concern into something close to trolling.
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phoenix
Member since:
2005-07-11

On the one hand, it pisses me off royally when a piece of hardware refuses to work due to some stupid missing driver.


Repeat after me: firmware blobs are not binary drivers. Firmware blobs are not part of the kernel. Firmware blobs are not part of the OS. Firmware blobs are not run on the CPU.

Wireless cards, for example--which have pissed me off to extreme levels to where I just don't care any more, I'll take the blobs.


You're confusing "binary drivers" with "binary firmware". They are not the same thing. You are arguing about the wrong thing.

On the other hand, it seems that some FSF-approved distros do surprisingly well when it comes to compatibility with some hardware, and in some cases (somehow) manage to work with some hardware that refuses to work on just about any FSF non-compliant distro out there (including even Ubuntu and openSUSE).


And they still use binary firmware, without any "OMG, i haz not the open-sources!"

I think my stance is that I'd rather be using a 100% "free" OS, but will tolerate some blobs if absolutely necessary. So far, those tend to be display drivers (nVidia) and wireless cards (Broadcom).


Again, completely beside the point. Firmware is not a driver.

Really, what needs to happen is for more end-user education into the differences between "device firmware" running on the physical device, and "device driver" running in the kernel as part of the OS. They are *very* different things, and the OSSness of one does not affect the OSSness of the other.

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