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Re: Hardware manufacturer lobbying

On Tue, Feb 02, 1999 at 18:07 -0600, David Welton wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 02, 1999 at 11:51:06PM +0000, Dave Swegen wrote:
> > As I mentioned in my mail I think it would be darned excellent if they
> > would open up the specs to their old, obsolete hardware (ie V1 and Rush).
> > AFAIKS they have nothing to lose and all to gain by doing this. If they did
> > this it would set a great precedent for other companies. If you would like
> > to work on reasons why they would want to do this get in touch and we'll
> > brainstorm...
> Umm this might give the impression that they have something to lose if
> they give us newer specs as well.

Well, I doubt a graphics card manufacturer (which is what I'm referring to
mostly) would ever give up the 3D part of their cards. They might very well
with the 2D part, which is something I believe has already happened in a
few cases (matrox, nVidia?). To be honest I haven't really given other
types of HW much thought (but we reeally need the specs for winmodems -

> > I firmly believe the model of binary-only drivers for the first 6-12
> > months, followed by open specs should be acceptable to the vast
> > majority of hardware vendors (at least on the graphics and sound
> > side). Not the ideal solution, but better than nothing or binary
> > only...
> This is a bad solution, IMO.  It will divide the Linux community, as
> things such as KDE have done.  Many of us are *not interested* in
> non-free software, or at least want to limit our use of it.  Using it
> for critical drivers is a definite no.  OTOH, there are people who
> will get desperate for support for whatever hardwrae and use
> anything...

Sure it's not an ideal solution. In an ideal world we wouldn't have to have
binary drivers. I don't like the idea of binary drivers very much, but I do
realise that companies are unlikely to open up immediatly. Knowing that the
specs are likely to come at a later date would allow the hardcore bin
sceptics the choice of running the latest with binary drivers or waiting a
year for the open drivers. It is simply a compromise solution that ought to
be sellable to paranoid HW companies that haven't seen the light, and keep
the majority of free software users reasonably happy.

> > One idea I have had is to set up a hardware boycott site, which
> > would basically list any companies which refuse to support linux in
> > any way, shape or form (ie a blank NO to any question regarding
> > drivers or specs).  Not very subtle, but it would allow people to
> > make an informed choice, and perhaps it would increase companies
> > awareness of linux and other free OSs.
> I used to run a linux incompatiblity list, which listed pieces of
> hardware that weren't compatible with linux, and the reason, if any,
> such as no driver, or the fact that the company wouldn't release
> specs.  This could be a useful and effective way of doing this.  I
> don't have a lot of time to do something like this right now, but if
> you're interested, I could furnish further information.

It would be interesting to do this, but as you say a lot of work. For it to
be effective one would have to make a lot of noise, both to users and to

But I'm no real coder, so there would have to be demand for the specs
(imagine how embarrasing it would be if Cyberdyne Systems released the
specs for the T-2000 and nobody was there to write a driver for it :)

With a bit of luck I won't have much time on my hands in the near future
(hopefully get my first job in 1 1/2 years, partially as "linux expert" of
all things *shakes head* Gotta love big-bucks companies ;) but if you're
interested in doing something in the future we could perhaps do a bit of
ground work?


         Dave Swegen           | Debian 2.0 on Linux i386 2.1.125
<dave@recursive.prestel.co.uk> | PGP key available on request
      <dsw@debian.org>         | Linux: The Choice of a GNU Generation

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