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.
Thread beginning with comment 116109
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Technical Issues too
by ma_d on Tue 18th Apr 2006 21:24 UTC
Member since:

I think there are also some technical questions. Mainly around the quality of the drivers.
The drivers in linux' source tree can be vouched for, and if they have issues Linux gets blaimed rightly: It supports them, some better then others.
However, when you load up proprietary drivers and they cause issues. Well, Linux will get blaimed.

Remember WinME? Microsoft made the grave mistake of not using the same driver interfaces and Win98 drivers weren't always a correct fit. Guess what. Companies labelled their Win98 drivers as ME anyway (sometimes) and people thought ME was just ridiculously unstable. In reality, there just wasn't much properly supported hardware...

So by keeping only FOSS drivers and the highest quality proprietary drivers by having the current barriers to closed development Linux is successfully avoiding a bad rep for half-done drivers. Not that there aren't any half done drivers out there, but usually they're at least stable.

I don't think Linux should go too far in making it easy to ship closed drivers. If they want their drivers on Linux they can open them, or write wrappers. If they do the first we can fix it, if they do the second they've put in a major commitment to the driver!

No driver is better than a bad driver.

Reply Score: 3