X.org, distributors, and proprietary modules
Posted Aug 15, 2006 17:27 UTC (Tue) by vblum
In reply to: X.org, distributors, and proprietary modules
Parent article: X.org, distributors, and proprietary modules
My intentions were not so hostile to NVidia. This is mere business logic. The question is who can apply pressure to whom.
RH decided not to upgrade a piece of critical infrastructure because a single(!) company failed to put out their closed source driver in time. From a consumer's perspective, this is not good.
I started out long ago with a similar sentiment like yours, that is, let's give NVidia a break and let's just accept that they're doing their Linux support in a different way. When Arjan van der Ven's (I think) piece on closed source drivers in the kernel came out, I thought it overdramatic at first.
However, it is now clear that any slack on the part of NVidia _is_ able to affect a distribution release adversely after all. Only a single vendor, mind you - but it can threaten RH with the anger of NVidia's users, anger that should be directed at NVidia.
What will happen if this starts affecting more than one driver, as A van der Ven theorized? Already with two perhaps conflicting vendor dependencies, we'll end up in a much more difficult situation ... do you chose X.org 7.5 which supports the latest card by Martian grafix, Inc - or do we ship X.org 7.3 instead, because the widely popular Obsolox Zillienium adapter is supported there, but not later?
Then think three conflicting vendors.
It may be possible to hold up everyone else's releases and follow only a single vendor's schedule, NVidia's. But if we allow one such case, there will be more. What then?
My take is: If vendors like NVidia insist on closed source, fine. But if they are then not fast enough to upgrade their drivers, this MUST be their problem, and that of their users. As it is now, suddenly the pressure is applied to everyone else to NOT upgrade, but not applied to NVidia to upgrade. How very wrong.
With this choice, we are moving towards the unmaintainability of the free software part that Arjan projected as his worst case scenario. That's a long way off - but he may have had a better point than I first thought.
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