Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Nov 2006 23:05 UTC, submitted by SEJeff
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Mark Shuttleworth is trying to entice OpenSUSE developers to join Ubuntu. "Novell's decision to go to great lengths to circumvent the patent framework clearly articulated in the GPL has sent shockwaves through the community. If you are an OpenSUSE developer who is concerned about the long term consequences of this pact, you may be interested in some of the events happening next week as part of the Ubuntu Open Week."
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RE[3]: Why is proprietary bad?
by h3rman on Sat 25th Nov 2006 17:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why is proprietary bad?"
h3rman
Member since:
2006-08-09

If the kernel developers lock-out proprietary drivers, I don't think it will benefit anyone. Not me... it'll just give me a reason to go back to Windows.

That would be the last, and least credible motive to ever start using Windows.

Linux developers may be for FOSS, but hardware must still be purchased. Hardware vendors need money to make a living, do R&D, produce new products and market them.

That's right. Not much wrong with that.

Hardware vendors have a need for privacy to protect their products, patents and shareholder interest.

Usually, the shareholders haven't the faintest idea what those specs are about. Patents must be public anyway, otherwise how can anyone know how to avoid violating them? So that makes no sense.
If you mean code specific to devices, I wouldn't want to be the shareholder of a manufacturer that believes that the only way to survive is to keep secrets about the stuff you make. Innovation is for those with guts, not fear.

I understand many drivers are reverse-engineered - I'm not talking about those. If all hardware vendors open sourced their drivers, it could affect their edge in the competitive market.

That's an odd statement. "If all hardware vendors open sourced their drivers", noone's "edge" is of course affected. Think about it: why do Intel and AMD cross license?

... I can see right away why vendors prefer to write for Windows instead of Linux. I don't think market share is the reason, it's that Microsoft, in all its' faults, respects their privacy.

Please, don't make me accuse you of being naive. "Prefer to write for Windows", does that mean "prefer to survive" in your language?

The GPL doesn't want any secrets, and that is not always a good thing. I certaintly don't want to see any hardware vendors going away because the Linux license pushed them to revealing too much. What would the world be like without nVidia vs ATI, Intel vs AMD, PC vs MAC, etc?

Look, it's real simple. You buy a pieve of hardware, so you pay the people that produce that. That sounds good. Then you want that piece of hardware to work. The better it works, the better the product. The crucial question remains, how do you make it work without opening up? There's no way of knowing what goes on in a kernel panic if you put a blob in it. That's cool for Microsoft, but it's not for free software. Anyway it inhibits innovation. No pc hardware business model has ever proven to be viable in the long run if it's based on secrecy of something essential.

No doubt that FOSS and the GPL has its' place, but everybody has to realize the double edged sword it created. The stronger that Linus and the developers push to enforce the GPL, the more they will hurt themselves in the end.

Has Linus T ever displayed more than average zeal for the GPL? I have yet to see the type of hurt you refer to. I would have no idea. IBM and HP, for example don't seem to feel that Linux threatens any hardware makers' business, ironically. Someone told me they're some of the big guys.

I personally would love to buy a brand new PC that supported Linux out of the box by the vendors, instead of waiting 2 years for someone to figure out the hardware and write substandard open-source drivers.

Me too. I did buy a brand new PC, and everything just worked, after I put my first Suse 9.1 in the drive. Admitted, that was before I heard of wobbly windows. Nevertheless, I've had a blobless existence for more than two years, and I don't think I've missed out much.

I'd also suggest you go for the PS3, that runs great with Linux. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

Kokopelli Member since:
2005-07-06

"No pc hardware business model has ever proven to be viable in the long run if it's based on secrecy of something essential."

Should read

"No pc hardware business model has ever proven to be viable in the long run."

Secrecy or lack thereof has not proven to be a point in favor or to the negative to the success of a hardware company. While it will hopefully change in the future, support for non-windows based systems makes only a small difference in desktop targeted hardware.

Would I like for nvidia to release their drivers in an open source format? Absolutely. Do I think we have the right to demand it? Absolutely not. A great deal of time and effort has gone into the drivers and hardware designs for Nvidia and ATI. It is up to them what they do with it. It is up to us to decide if we are willing to accept it by buying the products.

Mark Shuttleworth has come to the reluctant conclusion that the user experience can be made better by including the capability of configuring the vendor supplied drivers by default. i see nothing wrong with this provided that it is optional and the user is given a credible explanation as to advantages and disadvantages.

It is about consumer choice. The consumer can choose to use the open source drivers, or they can use the vendor provided ones. As long as they make an educated decision I see no problem with either decision.

Edited 2006-11-25 18:18

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Why is proprietary bad?
by tux68 on Sat 25th Nov 2006 18:57 in reply to "RE[4]: Why is proprietary bad?"
tux68 Member since:
2006-10-24

As others have already said in this thread, the use or non-use of proprietary binary modules is NOT just a question of consumer choice. It's also about the choice of license made by developers. Many developers choose the GPL specifically because they believe it does not allow this type of use.

They believe that such use degrades overall freedom.
Even though some people (talking about you NotParker ;o) ) believe that this in itself is a horrible restriction on freedom, that's a debate for another day.

Your own logic above which grants ATI and Nvidia every right to protect their work and not release GPL compatible modules, should be extended to the authors of GPL software who wish to protect their work in their own way.

People who continually contravene the will of those GPL developers are no better than pirates who steal Microsoft software.

Reply Parent Score: 3