X.org, distributors, and proprietary modules
Posted Aug 15, 2006 3:10 UTC (Tue) by elanthis
In reply to: X.org, distributors, and proprietary modules
Parent article: X.org, distributors, and proprietary modules
"1. Vendors that are willing to support with documentation and/or drivers."
The problem is that this group largely doesn't exist in the video driver realm. As has been noted, Intel's recent code release still using binary blobs for certain functionality.
You may think that "best tool for the job" people are sacrificing their ideals, but when it comes down to it, I'd rather that the scientists and doctors who are using high-end hardware requiring proprietary drivers be able to do their work than allow people to die in order to hold up their ideals over something and completely irrelevant to peoples' lives as software.
Sure, they would be better off if they could use that hardware with Free drivers, as they wouldn't have to worry about vendor lock-in or an inability to debug problems they run into. But the whole value of that Freedom is to allow them to do their job better and with fewer restrictions; making choices that eliminate their ability to do that job in order to improve their ability to do that job just doesn't make any sense. It's like killing for peace.
Average users aren't in much better of a position in many cases, either. The vast majority of my friends don't use any software other than games (and the OS the games run on). Proprietary, closed-source games. For these people, the whole reason for owning a computer is to play these games. They don't need or want the source. They'd love to be able to "share with their neighbor" only because they'd prefer to get their software gratis. To them, software Freedom is entirely useless as anything other than a way to spend less money. Running Linux or another Free OS does nothing for them. Running Free drivers does nothing for them. Even if they had a fully functional Free OS, the message is lost on them anyways because they WANT to play non-Free games, and taking that option away from them doesn't place them among group of true Free Software users, it simply removes them from the group of software users.
I am definitely a "best tool for the job" sort of guy, and I do firmly believe that Open Source is pretty much always the best tool for the job from a technical and social level. I also know that many people don't care about the best tool for the job, and instead care about the best tool for the profit, and that these people create a lot of useful tools that Free Software hasn't yet been able to mimic, and until then, most people are going to be stuck using those monopolistic proprietary tools.
I believe the games anecdoce is possibly the most important. Games are what drive a majority of constumers to buy PCs, are what drives a majority of consumer-level hardware improvements, and are the gateway for sales of a lot of other hardware and software.
Until the Free Software movement can manage to start producing games on par with the proprietary offerings of the day, Free Software and its ideals has little hope of really reaching out to a majority of users or directing most companies.
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