GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper
Posted Oct 25, 2006 22:10 UTC (Wed) by mikov
In reply to: GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper
Parent article: GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper
> From spending time giving free linux support to linux newbies on IRC I've found that the majority of people trying to use ndiswrapper today are trying to use hardware for which there currently exists free drivers
I didn't realize that, though personally I haven't had to use ndiswrapper yet.
I guess most people expect that if a free driver was available, it would be autodetected. From a user's perspective, downloading a free but beta driver from sourceforge (because it isn't included in the distribution) is probably worse than using ndiswrapper, which happens to be included in the distribution (and they already have the Windows driver because they are probably dual booting).
> Although most people don't realize it, almost all laptop's wireless cards are on mini-pci and are removable as a result.
I don't think this is a reasonable option, except for geeks and true enthusiasts. While I personally would do that, I wouldn't dare recommend it to anybody who asks me for help with their laptop. I especially wouldn't recommend it if their laptop happened to be working one hour ago, until they upgraded their kernel.
Seriously, this is out of the question. People would laugh at my face if I told them that they had to pay money and modify their laptop instead of deleting two lines from the kernel source.
Buying a new laptop so that it could be used for Linux is another thing. In that case buying an extra mini-pci card is also acceptable.
> The best option is to use a free driver
While that is true, not all people are using Linux with the idea of testing it and putting up with problems. If the free driver is in any way less functional than the NDIS one, they have zero incentive of using it.
The best option is for as many people as possible to use Linux (and to want to use it) and to have it as functional as possible. Then those people are more likely to buy Linux-compliant hardware next time.
> Using ndiswrapper? ... well Why do you suggest people us Windows drivers after discarding out the option of using Windows itself? There are several nice VMs that Linux works well in, ... If the user is going to have propritary code in their kernel, why not go all the way?
That is an excellent question. Why not run Linux in VMWare under Windows ? I really don't know how I could explain that to my wife for example (if she knew what VMWare was). Most laptops come with Windows anyway. Why not really ?
- Less available memory ?
- Slower ?
- Less stable ???
- Worse battery life ??? (but is it really, considering that currently the battery life in Windows is noticeably better)
- Better networking (my wireless does work better in Windows than Ubuntu)
- Longer battery life
- Convenient access to Windows applications in the few cases you do need them
- Much more controllable, easy to back and restore the entire image
How would you answer ?
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