Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Nov 2010 22:24 UTC, submitted by koki
GNU, GPL, Open Source Now this is interesting. We see what is at its core a very valid concern, in practice not a problem to anyone, and, thanks to the tone of the press release, close to trolling. The Free Software Foundation Latin America is complaining about something that has been known for a while - there is some non-Free code stuck in the Linux kernel (mostly firmware). A valid issue of concern from an idealogical viewpoint, but sadly, the tone of the press release turns this valid concern into something close to trolling.
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When I download a, I get a readme.txt along side the actual filename.drv. I can choose to read that .txt or not. It is in the driver package but the actual driver works with or without readme.txt

When I download, I get firmware along side the actual linuz.bin kernel binary. I can choose copy those fimware blobs along side the kernel binary or not. They are in the kernel package but the actual kernel works with or without them in place. You may get the firmware when you download kernel.tar.gz but you don't have to pay any further attention to them then you pay to random text file under /docs/.

Perhaps they should package a kernel.tar.gz and kernel-withfirmware.tar.gz but otherwise, it seems like a non-issue.

Personally, I think firmware should be on the hardware board (it's easy to re-flash through an "update wizard") and drivers should be open source by default practice. I have never heard justification for making hardware drivers "competitive advantage" that balanced out the end user grief currently caused by such thinking. Until an open source comparable alternative becomes available, one has to use the closed alternative that works though. I'll happily use Nouveau when it's performance and function support matches or exceeds Nvidia-GLX for example.

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