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

On Sun, Feb 28, 1999 at 11:26:28AM +1100, Craig Sanders wrote:
> > > 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.

You mean "the video cards with free drivers don't have 3D, tough."
That's a supremely helpful attitude.  You'll definately win the hearts of
users that way.

> > > 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.

Which is my point exactly!  They aren't becoming available.  The
companies are keeping the 3D info to themselves because they believe they
can just give us binary drivers and people will accept that as good
enough.  Nobody is pushing for free drivers.

> > > 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.

I'll leave the exercise to other readers to determine whether or not the
concepts follow or not, it looks like they follow to me and even then
your argument of "buy another card" is flawed as there are no 3D cards
which have free drivers at this time anyway.

> > 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
> choose.

3. Make a really big issue out of it (as you're trying to prevent me from
doing) and make sure the companies know that some of us want 3D cards
with free drivers until one of them cooperates.

> 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.

Problem:  New machines ship with 3D cards
Problem:  3D cards only have non-free drivers
Result:  In order to use Linux on a new machine, you are required to use
non-free drivers.

You don't see how this is causing a gradual, steady, and at this point
unobstructed path to pollute the kernel with non-free code?

> > 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.

That's fine, you told me to write it since I'm the one who has a problem
with it.

> 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]

Has this been done with modern VLSI hardware and 4-layer circuit boards? 
By anybody not part of a large R&D house with thousands of dollars of
equipment?  This is unreasonable, at best.  If I could afford the
equipment necessary to reverse engineer a modern video card I could
afford to have one constructed custom and source for a driver written for
me!  Do you know what even some of the equipment needed to do this COSTS?

"Do you think she's the sincere type? ... Yeah, I was afraid of that."
                        -- Richie Ryan, Highlander: The Series

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