Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Dec 2006 22:28 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source "Recently there has been a lot of discussion bubbling up regarding the possibility that Ubuntu will ship proprietary 3D drivers by default for some video cards. My aim here is not to discuss the specifics of that decision, which is still being fleshed out and ratified, but to instead define my views on the bigger picture behind the discussion - features vs. freedom."
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Just because you don't get arrested doesn't mean it isn't illegal. Civil law vs criminal law.

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nicholas Member since:


In the UK at least. Dunno what country you are from.

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Doc Pain Member since:

"Just because you don't get arrested doesn't mean it isn't illegal. Civil law vs criminal law."

I think you're mixing up terms here. Let me try to explain:

There are two kinds of contravention (offense/offence against the law) in criminal law: Felony of request (Antragsdelikt) and official felony (Offizialdelikt). The first one implies that someone has to file an offense/offence about violation of license terms. In most cases this won't be. The authorities of prosecution (public attorney) won't do anything, so there will be no arrest.

In civil law it's almost the same, but the case does not need a law to be broken. Anyone can sue anyone. It's up to the judge (or the jury) to decide.

I'm sorry my english regarding termini technici of law is not that good. :-)

To come back on topic: As mentioned in some post before, it's just about definition what the terms "feature" and "freedom" stand for.

At one point, the author talks about computers. He states: "They are no longer the ugly beige boxes shoved under a desk in a cold office, they are must-have items that help us run our lives, define our style and allow us to share and communicate with each other."

Doesn't he have a real life? :-) Most boxes offered in stores are still ugly beige or ugly childish. I for myself like the ddesign done by SGI and Sun. Define your style... with a ugly beige box... :-)

Then he discusses the need of proprietary 3D drivers. I think the simplest solutions are the best. Such drivers should be allowed to be included, and the user has to decide if he wants to use them or not. A dialog could be like this: "If you want to enable 'Hot Desktop Flip 3D Pro Super New', you need to install the following driver: NXV300GL/3D+. This driver is NOT maintained by the authors of the (e. g. Linux) software you're installing right now. It may be illegal in your country to use this driver. Do you want to install it? [YES] [NO]" And finally it's freedom for the user to decide what he wants to install. Next problem: Can the authors of a (Linux) distribution assume the user has a clue to this topic? With a MICROS~1 product, there would be no such question. :-)

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