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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drivers are part of the hardware package
by jakesdad on Tue 18th Apr 2006 17:56 UTC
Member since:

all they have to do is interface with the kernel.. So who cares as long as my hardware works. The sandle wearers can have their 2d graphics.

Reply Score: 3

Robocoastie Member since:

yes. I have no problem with proprietary drivers at all.

Reply Parent Score: 1

KenJackson Member since:

So who cares as long as my hardware works.

Consider this hypothetical doomsday scenario from the message that was linked in the article:

A serious security flaw is found in the 2.6 series, which turns out to be a design flaw in a key sysfs API. Fixing this flaw would require to break the module ABI and practically all modules out there, while not fixing this flaw leaves a potential roothole open. A quick fix
is made available under a CONFIG_ option, but users who need binary drivers have no choice but leave their systems vulnerable.

How cares? You will care if we end up depending on proprietary binary drivers that adversely restrict the open part of our open source world.

Reply Parent Score: 5

rayiner Member since:

It has little to do with sandals and a lot to do with practicality. What happens when you need to use a device with closed-source drivers on a different architecture? There are a lot of FBSD users who are pissed that NVIDIA supports Linux/amd64, but not FreeBSD/amd64.

Beyond that, what happens when the drivers need to be modified to take advantage of new kernel infrastructure? You update the TCP/IP stack to be super fast, but need support in the driver, so what happens to closed source drivers you can't modify? This is exactly what is happening to the DRI project. The DRI folks don't have access to the driver source or hardware specs for modern ATI and NVIDIA hardware, so they are extremely limited in how easily they can develop technologies like DRI-EGL. Apple has driver source code to make the GPU play nice with Quartz Extreme, Microsoft has the source code to do the same for Avalon, but the open source folks can't do the same for XGL.

Reply Parent Score: 5