Perhaps we should start to behave more like OpenBSD?
Posted Jul 20, 2006 22:23 UTC (Thu) by cventers
Parent article: OLS: Open source graphics drivers
I remember reading through a thread on an OpenBSD mailing list recently
concerning crypto chips released by the company Hifn. Apparently, the
vendor would release documentation but only if you signed up for an
account / went through a company representative. Many OpenBSD developers
deeply objected to this for privacy and other reasons.
So some dude from Hifn had come in to the mailing list and declared that
his company's specs were Open. Not only did OpenBSD users/devs disagree
with him, the outpouring of harsh and negative responses to the Hifn
guy's assertion seemed like a rush of concentrated anger. Many users
alluded to their influence over the buying power of many of Hifn's
potential customers, and strongly promised to make sure those customers
would look elsewhere. There were even threats to drop the open driver!
When I read it, I remember thinking that the approach seemed rather
harsh. It looked like they had passed the point of showing concern and
were simply delivering the Hifn associate abuse. But I suppose that my
interpretation might have been quite incorrect. I think some of us in the
community have gotten so used to having to beg for specs and drivers that
we haven't been flexing our muscles as much as we can. What's the great
fear -- that our demand is going to anger the vendors enough that they
don't support us at all?
Now that ATI seems totally uncooperative on the r500, they might be a
prime candidate for this level of abuse. It should be loud, unrelenting
and all over the press, and it shouldn't cease until the very moment ATI
folds. If the major vendors don't want to release open source drivers,
fine -- but I think customers have a right to demand programming
specifications for the things they buy.
Additionally, we need everyone with the capability to do so to apply
auxiliary pressure. Anyone in the corporate sector with an interest in
running Linux hardware (be it for internal or product use) should band
together in sending the message to the vendors that they might find
themselves losing support if they're not willing to even attempt to be
It flat out pisses me off when I read about NVIDIA stating that graphics
drivers are so hard to write that we can't do them, or that customers
don't want open source drivers.
We as the greater free software community have a handle on just about
every technical problem you can imagine. We're more portable than
anything the proprietary world could ever produce or has ever seen. Our
features and capabilities are outstanding.
Our biggest problem then isn't a technical one in my opinion - it's this
business of free drivers. It's time to turn up the heat.
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