Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 24th Mar 2007 19:34 UTC
Linspire "Freespire version 2.0 Alpha2U (1.2.49) is now available for download. This is the second alpha build based on Ubuntu that might not be good for the health of a production machine. Expect improvements as future builds are released. Some of the release notes: automatic boot menu management does not always work, do not install if you are not experienced at repairing GRUB configurations and MBRs; no upgrade path available from Freespire 1.0 or previous versions of Freespire 2.0 alphas; NVIDIA and ATI drivers are not automatically installed; Jack has been removed - any applications which do not use ALSA may not work properly."
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Member since:

Let's all face it, if we want sold down the river, we can trust ESR/Kevin Carmony and the Linbuntu folks to do it. Freedom is NOT about market share.

Reply Parent Score: 2

JeffS Member since:

Fine and dandy. That is a viable choice. We can be complete free software purists, and be content with our niche market. And that's perfectly fine.

Or, we can choose to try get more "regular users" to use Linux on the desktop, which means providing a complete out of the box experience, where media codecs, 3D acceleration, Flash, and Java work, with no fuss. And, in turn this means providing legal and easy access to some proprietary codecs and drivers.

And that means more market share. And with more market share comes more power to get vendors to cooperate in providing non-encumbered codecs and drivers. In essence, we can choose to lose a short term battle in order to help win the long term war.

But we can't be free software purists, and expect the Linux desktop to ever grow beyond the geek/power user niche.

We can preach about how open source is a better development method than closed source (it is).

We talk all we want about how much more secure and stable and efficient Linux is than Windows (it is on all three counts).

We wax poetic about how proprietary software is immoral and limits end users freedoms (generally speaking, unreasonable proprietary licenses that severely restrict end users "fair use" freedoms are highly immoral).

But at the end of the day, non tech or non power users simply want to watch their DVDs, play their on-line Flash games, and play their songs purchased from iTunes, all working out of the box without having to execute a multi-step process (often involving the command line), with the hand-holding of a local Linux geek.

So it's either we compromise a teensy-weensy little tiny bit and ship a very small percentage of proprietary stuff (legally) in order to make non-tech users happy, or we consign ourselves to our niche desktop market, and be happy in our free software purism and outsider/minority status.

It's really that plain and simple.

Linspire has made the "teensy-weensy compromise" choice, and is legally shipping the proprietary codecs and drivers. They've also opened CNR for other distros, so that they, too, can gain easy, legal access to those proprietary bits.

And, IMHO, that is the wise choice.

'm glad there pure free software distros. I'm glad there is Richard Stallman going around singing the praises and virtues of free software.

But in order for broad, across the board change in the market to occur, Linux on the desktop has to, absolutely has to, gain market share. With market share comes power and influence, and ultimately the incentive for vendors or patent holders to open up their stuff.

In essence, shipping a teensy-weensy bit of proprietary stuff now means much more Free, open, and unencumbered stuff in the future.

Reply Parent Score: 3

egon_spengler Member since:

The currently-closed-source driver/codec/binary blob provider is suddenly supposed to "get religion" and turn loose open source alternatives when the "critical mass" is reached BY ACCEPTING AND RUNNING the closed-source binary blobs? Yeah, right! Said provider will say: "You been fine with the closed source all this time, you been running it all along, ain't no reason for ME to change. Don't like it, bugger off!" You accept the closed-source, you acquiesce and become an aider and abetter.

Reply Parent Score: 2