"But when you tell your neighbor to use the same software you use, it might
very well be that your neighbor would find herself deprived of control over
her different computer, because of the very software that you dismissed as
And then again, the neighbour might find out that his computer does not
work, because those blobs have been removed. So he ends up running Windows
instead, and his opinion regarding Linux and other free software is
permanently soured. I have seen that happen.
Fact is that to most people, computers are tools and appliances. they don't
care about source code. The people who could do something with the source
are few and far between.
So what if I run Linux with some firmware-blobs? How does it harm me? I'm
not "in control"? Sure I am. I could at any moment decide to use something
else which does not require those blobs. But it could be that I have made a
decision that using that hardware with those firmware-blobs outweights any
negative that they bring with them.
"Besides, if the software is useless for you, harmful for your neighbor,
potentially harmful for everyone else, and the attitude of the proponents
of such software is harmful to everyone, the question that really matters
is not why take it out, but rather why put it in in the first place. "
Because without that code, that piece of hardware is just an expensive
Like I said, the proper way to handle cases like this is to simply not use
that hardware. Vote with your wallet, and let the manufacturer know why you
chose their competitors product instead. If something is harmful, then
don't use it. But something those firmware-blobs are needed.
"Why give anyone the impression that it, and the hardware that only works
by taking your freedom away, are something to be wished for, rather than
I have used Linux with proprietary drivers, and I did not think that
someone had "taken my freedom away". Fact was that if I wanted proper 3D-
acceleration, I needed those drivers. Now, according to you, I should have
accepted the fact that I could not get 3D-acceleration in Linux, since
getting 3D would mean "giving away my freedom". I disagree with that.
But lets assume that I had "given away my freedom". What freedom would that
be? How was I worse off by using those drivers? I could not access the
source and tinker with it? I'm not a programmer, so having access to the
source is next to useless to me.
The problem is that people look at these issues from a programmers
perspective. But fact is that overwhelming majority of computer-users are
not programmers. They just want a computer that works. What we have here is
a case where those people are expected to sacrifice functionality in
exchange for freedoms that do not benefit them in any shape or form. When
they are faced with that choice, they would choose MacOS or Windows
I know how I would have been worse off by not using those drivers: no 3D-
acceleration. The benefits of not using those drivers would have been
nonexistant for me.