Linux-libre project meets rocky reception

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Linux-libre project meets rocky reception

Postby rickh » 2008-08-02 14:12

http://www.linux.com/feature/142772

if Alexandre Oliva, a Red Hat employee best-known as a board member of the Free Software Foundation Latin America (FSFLA), has his way, building a 100% free distribution will become easier thanks to his linux-libre project. Unfortunately, the path to freedom, he's finding, is often blocked by politics and a preference for convenience over ideals.

I hope Debian is more receptive to this project than Redhat/Fedora.
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Postby BioTube » 2008-08-02 14:37

I think a lot of people are afraid that a 100% free kernel would eventually knock the normal kernel out of the distro, making them either have to work harder for their hardware or compile a kernel on their own.
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Postby rickh » 2008-08-02 14:51

BioTube wrote:I think a lot of people are afraid that a 100% free kernel would eventually knock the normal kernel out of the distro, making them either have to work harder for their hardware or compile a kernel on their own.

Small price for freedom I would say. (Like bolting down the seat.)
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Postby GNU.Wasabi » 2008-08-02 15:37

Mmm... What benefits are there for end-users of a 1000% free kernel? As in what kind of license will it be?
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Postby MeanDean » 2008-08-02 15:59

uh...the same benefits that free software provides...
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Postby BioTube » 2008-08-02 16:12

I personally believe in the old axiom.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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Postby EMD » 2008-08-02 16:33

BioTube wrote:I think a lot of people are afraid that a 100% free kernel would eventually knock the normal kernel out of the distro, making them either have to work harder for their hardware or compile a kernel on their own.

GNU.Wasabi wrote:Mmm... What benefits are there for end-users of a 1000% free kernel? As in what kind of license will it be?

MeanDean wrote:uh...the same benefits that free software provides...


I agree with both Dean and BioTube on this one.

Providing a 100% free kernel and forcing users to add non-free modules if they want sound, wireless, etc. sheds light on hardware that requires non-free drivers. (I wouldn't have known that some of my hardware requires proprietary drivers if I hadn't had to build the modules).

People who want to run 100% free software should be empowered to do so (and not be encumbered by other people's proprietary hardware).

That having been said, people who need proprietary drivers should have an easy way to install them (e.g. using Module Assistant with packages from Debian's non-free repositories).
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Postby MeanDean » 2008-08-02 16:42

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

thats the problem....having closed code in the kernel is some broke ass shit...
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Re: Linux-libre project meets rocky reception

Postby dmn_clown » 2008-08-02 19:58

rickh wrote:I hope Debian is more receptive to this project than Redhat/Fedora.


You're forgetting N.I.H. syndrome that prevails in FOSS.
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Postby kinematic » 2008-08-02 21:20

There are GNU/Linux users who -believe it or not- use their computer as a tool. Some may even depend on it to get work done and don't have the time to mess around with non-free drivers or getting to know all the intricate details of their hardware. While it's nice that some die hard FOSS advocates fill some of their spare time with campaining they also have to look at the useability side of things.
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Postby EMD » 2008-08-03 00:19

MeanDean wrote:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

thats the problem....having closed code in the kernel is some broke ass shit...

When BioTube used the term "broke," he meant "non-functional." Obviously, one cannot say that all of the proprietary kernel drivers are non-functional. To the contrary, they frequently provide the only way some users can obtain functional sound and wireless.


kinematic wrote:There are GNU/Linux users who -believe it or not- use their computer as a tool. Some may even depend on it to get work done and don't have the time to mess around with non-free drivers or getting to know all the intricate details of their hardware. While it's nice that some die hard FOSS advocates fill some of their spare time with campaining they also have to look at the useability side of things.

Producing and distributing proprietary software is not immoral per se, but proprietary software creates an environment in which a lot of immoral behavior can occur and that immorality often renders proprietary products useless.

For example, at my previous job, I noticed that the proprietary statistical software package that my boss had just purchased (SPSS) was incapable of computing a chi-square statistic properly. Under normal circumstances, I would have contacted the company for support. Perhaps they would have responded with a fix or perhaps they would have been immoral and declared that the bug is a feature.

Unfortunately, circumstances quickly became abnormal and I never had a chance to contact the company. My boss promptly informed me that SPSS is high-grade, professional software, she informed me her software doesn't make any mistakes and she further informed me that I would be fired if I ever checked for accuracy again.

(She must have spent a lot of money on that package!).

By contrast, if you ever notice an error in one of R's functions, simply type the name of the function without any arguments or parenthesis. That will output the text of the function, which you can modify and then reinsert.

@ kinematic -- Which statistical software package would you consider to be more usable? The proprietary package (SPSS) or the Free Software package (R)?



At the end of the day, it is more sensible, ethical and practical to run Free Software.

That's not to say that I haven't considered the arguments of the opponents to the Free Software movement. Most of the arguments against Free Software that I've found tend to be ill-informed. (A lot of people think that the Free Software is a Communist plot to destroy good American businesses).

I did however find one response to a pro-Free Software blogger which asserts that Free Software is promoted by some businesses to undercut their competitors. Even if that were true, it doesn't change the fact that the marginal cost of producing and distributing software is zero dollars and zero cents. Competition in the software industry should push the price of software to zero.

To survive businesses will have to sell complementary products and services, like installations, customizations training and support.

In the case of device manufacturers, they already sell a complementary product (the device itself), so what sense does it make to keep the software a secret?
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Postby BioTube » 2008-08-03 00:43

Your boss is evil. Did you report the bug anonymously? And I'm not against a free kernel, just being forced to use one. The installer could ask, though(with a "If unsure say 'non-free'" note).
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Postby EMD » 2008-08-03 00:50

BioTube wrote:Your boss is evil. Did you report the bug anonymously?

I spent the next month struggling to keep my job. Reporting the bug was the last thing on my mind. I ultimately left and found a better job where my hard work and attention to detail are appreciated.

BioTube wrote:And I'm not against a free kernel, just being forced to use one. The installer could ask, though(with a "If unsure say 'non-free'" note).

That's why Debian should provide modules for the non-free drivers that Debian has removed from the kernels.
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Postby Jackiebrown » 2008-08-03 00:55

kinematic wrote:There are GNU/Linux users who -believe it or not- use their computer as a tool. Some may even depend on it to get work done and don't have the time to mess around with non-free drivers or getting to know all the intricate details of their hardware. While it's nice that some die hard FOSS advocates fill some of their spare time with campaining they also have to look at the useability side of things.


What people don't seem to remember is that Linux would be next to OS2 if it weren't for it's dedication to free software.

If Nvidia decides to stop supporting my video card, I would not be able to use my computer as a tool...

Proprietary software and hardware puts us forever dependent on a manufactuar.
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Postby FolkTheory » 2008-08-03 00:56

i wish the best to this project. i wondered why FSF doesn't use Debian and i guess its something related to kernel blobs like this but oh well. anyways, best of luck
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