restrictions ?

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restrictions ?

Postby neighborlee » Wed Jun 27, 2007 10:18 pm

Why is the nvidia installer considered 'restricted' given that linus himself has no issue at all with 'binary blobs' ? ;)

I get the whole 'we only wish to support OSS' and I even find it very honorable and all, but this whole restricted stuff imo is very unfair to a company that really never had to support us in the first place , with our huge what 5% market share ? ( that is still tiny compared to windows ) whats up with this restricted stuff for drivers that really 'just work' and dain well ? ( at least mine always have ) :: 'not open source atm and so we can't directly support it' , might sound a tad nicer ? ;)

I only mention this because while this annoys me alot, I find linuxmint a huge blessing in that there is this 'light' version, yet to get what MOST users need and want for decent web browsing you can easily do it without needing some linux degree ;) ( that and I applaud their insight to do mintinstaller in case cnr does not pan out )


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Postby gcc » Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:29 am

Before I comment, I just want to say that I'm not a part of the dev team here- but I am lead dev on another distro and was a dev on a distro that had to wrestle with this particular issue, so I think I'm at least a little qualified to talk- feel free to disagree.

I'm going to break this into three specific fields: the first will be an analysis of why the debate occurs, the second an explanation of my personal feelings towards it, and the third an application of those ideas to Mint.

1)I am an OSS advocate. I love it, and I write it, and it's really the only way I can see knowledge working from here on out, barring a massive change in the way people perceive and use software. Having said that, some people don't think that way, and so a framework had to be developed in which the ideas of OSS could be expressed in the language of law. This necessitated many compromises, some pragmatic, some technical, but mostly aimed at limiting the one person's freedom to limit another's.
The biggest among those compromises was the idea of viral licensing. It was designed to ensure that code written freely would remain forever free by specifying that all software derived from OSS under the GPL must be licensed under the GPL.

And the word "derived" is where all of the trouble starts.

Some people have claimed- not without merit- that because the kernel and its drivers are so closely intertwined, and because the driver depends upon the specific interface provided by the kernel to do its job, that the driver is in effect derived from the kernel.
Others, also with some merit, have claimed that these are separate software projects, whose uses are certainly intertwined but whose codebases are distinct, and which therefore do not meet their standard for "derivation". Both sides have their evidences, and that as much as anything else is why the GPLv3 is being written- I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

2) Personally, I think its all a little silly- but then I don't have a great deal of respect for law, especially where it comes into conflict with ideology. Organizations, though, have to be more careful. The consequences for them are more dire, and they have customers who will effectively be punished for any temerity on the part of the developers, and its as much because of that as anything that I don't judge. Would I put them in directly? Absolutely. Should someone else? Thats their decision, and I respect it whatever it may be.

3) Speaking specifically to the situation with Mint, I think their solution works out well- the software is trivial to install and doing so avoids endangering the organization, which is basically the crux of the matter- are you really willing to endanger the project as a whole for that extra dab of convenience? Its just me, but I think it'd be a shame to see the thousands of hours the devs have put into this trashed to save me five seconds of effort.

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