Linux in a binary world... a doomsday scenario
Posted Dec 7, 2005 12:19 UTC (Wed) by rknop
Parent article: Linux in a binary world... a doomsday scenario
While a year earlier people would have to give up
3D acceleration for this often, now even 2D doesn't work without binary
drivers, nor does networking (both fixed wire or wireless) or sound.
Isn't this often half-true already? At least if you're on a laptop. How common are the NVIDIA chips where you give up 3d? Yeah, we don't give up 2d yet, but people have become so inured to just using the NVIDIA binary modules that it's already not far off. People on my floor think I'm strange because I try to avoid buying anything NVIDIA, and try to buy cards that have open-source 3d support (which right now, as far as I can tell, means two-year-old ATI cards, and is getting harder and harder in laptops). And Centrino... I have two grad students who've got laptops, and despite my grumblng about it, I've downloaded the binary firmware blob to go with the drivers for the built-in wireless. No, not a fully "binary-only" module, but it's already (a) a pain, because the Debian kernel doesn't just support it, but requires futzing around to get it to work, and (b) disturbing, because it can't be in a source-only kernel. On one of the grad students' laptops, for a while this was also true for the wired ethernet; for a while, the tg3 drivers were not in the standard kernel because of some sort of related issue.
This scenario isn't a doomsday scenario, it sounds to me like simple and plausible extrapolation of where we are already.
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