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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So What's the Problem?
by Arakon on Tue 18th Apr 2006 18:23 UTC
Arakon
Member since:
2005-07-06

If linux is all about freedom of choice, I want the choice to use my hardware as the developer intended even if it means closed source drivers. I believe it is very pig-headed and hypocritical for any kernel developers who try to impede the efforts of manufactures to make closed drivers for linux while they run about touting "choice" and "openess". It's not a very open system if they only allow "It's our way or the highway."

Besides isn't it about what I do with "MY PC"? What business is it of theres if I "choose" to use proprietary binary drivers. It's my choice. When they start dictating what I can and cannot use on my system, then how are they any better than the other camp, MS?

Reply Score: 5

RE: So What's the Problem?
by jcinacio on Tue 18th Apr 2006 18:26 in reply to "So What's the Problem?"
jcinacio Member since:
2006-03-12

If linux is all about freedom of choice, I want the choice to use my hardware as the developer intended even if it means closed source drivers. I believe it is very pig-headed and hypocritical for any kernel developers who try to impede the efforts of manufactures to make closed drivers for linux while they run about touting "choice" and "openess". It's not a very open system if they only allow "It's our way or the highway."

Besides isn't it about what I do with "MY PC"? What business is it of theres if I "choose" to use proprietary binary drivers. It's my choice. When they start dictating what I can and cannot use on my system, then how are they any better than the other camp, MS?


'nuff said ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: So What's the Problem?
by rattaro on Tue 18th Apr 2006 19:19 in reply to "So What's the Problem?"
rattaro Member since:
2005-08-22

Besides isn't it about what I do with "MY PC"? What business is it of theres if I "choose" to use proprietary binary drivers. It's my choice. When they start dictating what I can and cannot use on my system, then how are they any better than the other camp, MS?

You can do what you want with your PC. This restricts proprietary vendors from impeding on your freedom, not your freedom to do what you want.

Going on a little tangent, freedom is not always about the right to choose. It's about rights and responsibilities. I can't choose to sell my vote. So when people always talk about right to choose, some times you have to remember that it's about responsibilities of protecting the freedom of the kernel instead.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: So What's the Problem?
by flanque on Wed 19th Apr 2006 02:29 in reply to "RE: So What's the Problem?"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

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.

It really seems to be a contradiction of mindsets.

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.

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.

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?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: So What's the Problem?
by Chris on Tue 18th Apr 2006 19:24 in reply to "So What's the Problem?"
Chris Member since:
2005-09-28

Exactly, linux is about choice, you choose to use proprietary software or not.

People with an absolute believe that proprietary is evil should turn off their pc right now because i'm sure their processor is a proprietary piece of hardware and so is about every other component of their pc.

They should build their own stuff and make the blueprints of their work open source.

Well goodby proprietary haters, see you in about three hundred years when you finished your 1Mhz pc.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: So What's the Problem?
by ecko on Wed 19th Apr 2006 13:16 in reply to "RE: So What's the Problem?"
ecko Member since:
2005-07-08

Ok time to poke holes in your argument.

Proprietary software is completely different than proprietary hardware. You can't change a CPU like you can change a piece of software so let's compare apples to apples otherwise there's no sense making the effort to prove anything. Anyway what exactly is proprietary in my computer? Ok maybe the way it moves bits around in the CPU and down the busses but the instruction set is the same on my Intel machine as it is on my AMD. I can do exactly the same things on both. My PCI bus isn't proprietary. A lot of hardware is comitee designed so everyone can play fair, that's not the case in software.


As for your second point there are already lots of open source cores out there. http://opensparc.sunsource.net/nonav/index.html is an example of a program sun has to get developers on board and help address CPU design issues. These run much faster than 1mhz. Designing a CPU isn't voodoo, one can have enough understanding to design a basic MIPS-Lite CPU(No FPU, no pipelining, basic branching) and run in on a simulator even before finishing a degree in computer engineering or comp sci. It's not easy and not every student it able to but it's not beyond the realm of possibility.

It's very difficult to explain why having source code is important to people who really don't know anything about computers other than Windows XP tweaks. You just don't see all the issues maintaining one binary that runs on multiple systems. You don't see the headaches of maintaining binary compatability.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: So What's the Problem?
by g2devi on Tue 18th Apr 2006 21:22 in reply to "So What's the Problem?"
g2devi Member since:
2005-07-09

Actually, there are a few reasons:

* Closed Source Drivers can contain spyware (witness all the Gator stuff that keeps popping up in "free" windows software)

* Closed source drivers can contain security issues (e.g. Sony CD) that are not auditable

* Closed source drivers break whenever the binary API changes whereas open source drivers can often just be recompiled

* Closed source drivers don't work on all platforms (e.g. 64 bit platforms, PowerPC, Xen!)

* Closed source drivers are only usuable as long as the vendor maintains them. If the vendor stops maintaining it (either because it goes out of business or it wants you to upgrade your device) you're out of luck

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: So What's the Problem?
by Moulinneuf on Tue 18th Apr 2006 21:30 in reply to "So What's the Problem?"
Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

If you choosed hardware that was not made for GNU/Linux , you only have yourself to blame , there is no one stopping you or the vendor from making proprietary driver that connect to GNU/Linux , dont wait for it from the GPL camp ask or pay your vendor or proprietary developper for them.

Reply Parent Score: 1