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FSFLA: Linux kernel is "open core"
Posted Nov 8, 2010 19:48 UTC (Mon) by kirkengaard (subscriber, #15022)
"Help" that merely says "you made the wrong choice" is barely any help at all. "Help" that says "this is the choice you should have made" may be better, but isn't likely to be appreciated any more. Help that says "You made a choice that we don't have free support for yet, but here's what to do in the meantime," is much more likely to do The Right Thing in the long run. Especially if "what to do in the meantime" includes how to help change the situation. It says we're working on the problem (including you, now that you're with us), rather than suggesting that the problem will not be solved.
Posted Nov 8, 2010 20:04 UTC (Mon) by cesarb (subscriber, #6266)
For some reason, all this discussion reminds me of this webcomic: http://ninapaley.com/mimiandeunice/2010/08/11/advice/.
Posted Nov 8, 2010 23:14 UTC (Mon) by Zack (guest, #37335)
No, in my opinion ewan is correct. It should be made clear that the hardware manufacturer is the hostile party that is causing problems. Whether others want to shift the blame, and even others are willing to *take* the blame is something different.
>"Help" that merely says "you made the wrong choice" is barely any help at all.
If I understand the press release correctly, it is pointing out that the current appeasement strategy is not working, but is looking to be a slippery slope instead. It looks like it's not a matter of catching up with non-free software in the kernel and its presence declining over time due to replacing it with free equivalents. Non free components are increasing faster than they're being replaced.
So yes, for now users might have more functional devices in their computers, but those who feel that a larger market share will automatically lead to more pressure on hardware manufacurers are mistaken; it will only lead to complacency and too much commercial interests getting involved to ever reach the right percentage for a "big push" to take off before you've painted yourself into a corner.
"open core" (however ill defined it might be) might be a little far fetched at this moment, but it's not an illogical outcome if this process continues. And what is any FSF good for but pointing out the obvious, only to be ignored in the name of "pragmatism" ? It doesn't make them wrong though.
This is exactly what happens now, no?
Posted Nov 8, 2010 23:59 UTC (Mon) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
Help that says "You made a choice that we don't have free support for yet, but here's what to do in the meantime," is much more likely to do The Right Thing in the long run.
Yes, this is right thing to do (that's why I don't like FSF's idea that Debian is "unclean" since it includes non-free repository), but till now the message was "here is working thing - don't think about freedom, Ok"? I actually like the fact that firmware blobs are moving to separate repository (and in Debian they will probably marked "non-free"), but it means that people actually admitted that Linux is "open core" already - yet they don't like the consequences.
I don't see what the hoopla is all about. Yes, Linux is "open core" software. Yes, it is the problem and we should think about the ways to solve it. No, it's not the end of the world and no, it's not a reason to drop everything and switch to Linux-libre... just like the fact that Flash is proprietary is not a reason to stop visiting YouTube. But to say that this situation is "just fine"... I don't see how can you say that. If it's Ok for firmware blobs then why it's not Ok for nVidia drivers? And if it's Ok for nVidia drivers then why not for Flash? And if it's Ok for Flash then why not for ICC? And if it's Ok for ICC then why it's not Ok for MS Office?
People have different tolerance levels (witness huge amount of activity behind office suites and compare to stagnation of "free flash replacement" front), there are no absolute freedom and there are no absolute slavery - and it's just so happened that the mix usually described as "open code" includes Linux kernel - that's all.
Posted Nov 9, 2010 5:15 UTC (Tue) by gmatht (guest, #58961)
that's why I don't like FSF's idea that Debian is "unclean" since it includes non-free repository
If it's Ok for firmware blobs then why it's not Ok for ... MS Office?
Posted Nov 12, 2010 19:56 UTC (Fri) by lxoliva (subscriber, #40702)
What I find odd (but not really) is that people who accuse us of withholding useful information quite often also vehemently oppose sharing information that would cast the non-Free Software in question: they want things to just work, without informing the user of any problems.
I (obviously) don't agree with their stance, so here's an initial draft for a message that I think would be useful to display to users when a user-friendly system encounters a device that requires non-Free firmware or drivers to work:
We have found component FOO on your computer, and we're sorry to say inform you that, as of this release, it won't work on a wholly Free Software system. Here's why:
- the component designer does not provide you with Free Software (drivers or firmware) to operate this device
- the component designer does not provide you (or us) with enough information to write Free Software to make it work
- the component designer provides you with non-Free Software to run it, and so far we have not been able to reverse engineer it to develop equivalent software that respects your freedoms, at jurisdictions where the designer's hostile reverse engineering prohibitions are not enforceable
What you can do to fix this problem:
- if you're at a shop testing the computer or the peripheral device with Live media, keep your money and your freedom: don't buy it
- if you've already purchased it, try to return it for a refund, so that the hostile vendors who designed and selected this hardware component don't get the prize at your expense
- if you can't return it, try to find a replacement for the hardware component from a friendly vendor, and purchase it so as to offer incentive to vendors who respect you as a person, user and customer
- if you can't replace it, you may want to look at community support lists and web sites, maybe there are newer developments that can make it work in freedom
- if you don't find any, write to the hardware retailer, vendor and component designer to express your dissatisfaction, request a solution for the problem and let them and others in the community know how you feel about buying their products again.
You might find recommendations that involve installing non-Free Software provided by the vendors or from third parties. Please realize that those who offer you these recommendations may even think they're helping you, but in reality they're helping the hostile vendor keep you under control. We do not recommend or support the use of non-Free Software, for we find it harmful to you, the user, and to the community as a whole. Please remember this even if you decide to follow those recommendations, and keep them in mind next time you shop for a computer or try to help others.
Now, if at the end of this message, the installer wrote if you click on Ok, we will install the non-Free Software and make the device work for you, wouldn't you qualify it as highly hypocritical? :-)
Posted Nov 12, 2010 23:05 UTC (Fri) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784)
Posted Nov 9, 2010 9:37 UTC (Tue) by nhippi (subscriber, #34640)
"Warning: We only provide support for %s on as-is basis. Due to licencing terms from %s we are unable to fix any problems you may have with it."
Non-preaching yet explains *why* non-free driver is bad for you as an user.
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