FSFLA: Linux kernel is "open core"
Posted Nov 11, 2010 2:27 UTC (Thu) by dwmw2
In reply to: FSFLA: Linux kernel is "open core"
Parent article: FSFLA: Linux kernel is "open core"
"The fundamental difference is that it doesn't *ask* the user for any of these pieces of software. The moment it does is the moment it induces the user to give up their freedom."
So it's OK to have this closed, undebuggable, unfixable crap as long as you aren't asked
about it? If you look at it like that, then your goals are entirely out of sync with mine because you aren't going anywhere near far enough
I do care about the problems caused by crappy system BIOS code which we can't fix, and which the vendors usually don't bother even to test competently. And about broken device firmware like the Marvell wireless abomination that I had to deal with for OLPC which was so unreliable that we had to hook up an extra GPIO line to the module's reset pin. I care about these things regardless of whether they're loaded from flash or whether they're loaded through the kernel.
To me, that seems like an arbitrary and pointless distinction. I really don't understand why clever, savvy people would accept that these instances of non-free software are acceptable, as long as they aren't asked about it.
I find it astonishing that a crappy piece of closed-source firmware becomes more acceptable to you if it's flashed into the hardware such that you can't replace it with a free reimplementation. If the Broadcom b43 devices were like that, we'd never have got OpenFWWF.
"When the kernel doesn't say give me this piece of non-Free Software, but rather just works with whatever is on the system it's running, there isn't any problem."
The kernel never
says that. The kernel says "give me a piece of software which drives this device"
and cares not about the licensing. It doesn't care
whether it's using the Broadcom b43 firmware or the OpenFWWF version, for example (except to the extent that the different firmware has different behaviour
which it has to adapt to). Only if you choose
to give it a non-free version will it use it.
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