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Re: [Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>] Re: Debian & BSD concerns

On Wed, Feb 24, 1999 at 09:39:06PM -0800, Joseph Carter wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 25, 1999 at 08:31:03AM +1100, Craig Sanders wrote:
> > > > you don't have to use binary-only drivers if you don't want to. you
> > > > can ignore their existence entirely.
> > >
> > > You sometimes have no choice.  Modern video cards are all under NDA.  
> > > Want 3D?  Tough, it's under NDA.  No free drivers.  Want DVD video?   
> > 
> > it's your choice to buy that card. if you want free drivers, then buy a
> > card which has them.
> And if no card has them, well tough---you're the one who wants a video
> card, right?

there are hundreds of video cards with free drivers. pick any one of
them. not all of them will have all of the features you want...tough.
excrement occurs.

> > buy a different card. and write to creative telling them WHY you
> > bought from a competitor.
> Name one video card made today with 3D that has full specs available
> to anyone asking for them.  No, not even Matrox.

i have no idea. i have no interest in 3d cards.

if there are no 3d cards with free drivers, then i wouldn't buy any of
them. i would wait for a card with free drivers to become available.

> > you have a choice, regardless of whether or not it's one you
> > particularly want to make. difficult choices are an inevitable part
> > of life.
> >
> > buy a different card. live without the latest 3d game (very few of
> > which actually run under linux anyway).
> There you go.  You have already assumed that my purpose for a 3D card
> is the latest 3D game and tehrefore irrelivant anyway.

where do you see me making that assumption? i certainly didn't. notice
the full-stop between "buy a different card" and "live without....."?
that means they are separate sentences, and the concepts contained
therein do not necessarily follow directly one from the other.

> If I need a 3D card and there are none with free drivers, well what
> does it matter if I'm just playing games with it?
> What if I'm not doing games?  Then what?

whether you are doing games or not is irrelevant. if there are no
3d cards with free drivers available, then your choices are: 1. use
a non-free driver, 2. don't use a 3d card. 

these may not be pleasant choices, but they ARE choices. you get to

The point of all this is that no-one is forcing you to contaminate
your GPL-ed kernel with non-free drivers. if you think that having 3d
card support is more important than free software purity then go ahead
and install the driver. if you think free software is more important,
then stick with the hardware which has free drivers even if that means
missing out on certain features. it's your choice.

> > if you really want a free dvd driver, then reverse engineer the
> > binary-only driver and start writing it. yes, that IS hard work -
> > Free Software isn't the same thing as a Free Lunch.
> It's also illegal in my police state to reverse engineer software
> protected by IP laws..  You are advocating I do something illegal
> because the company will not?

two answers to that:

1. it's not illegal all over the world. someone in the free world could
   reverse-engineer the driver and send you the information.

2. a free driver can be written without reverse-engineering a non-free one.
   many drivers have been written for hardware with no documentation and no
   sample driver to rev. eng.  it's harder to do, but not impossible.
   [reinsert comments about no free lunch]


craig sanders

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