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    SubjectRe: Linux in a binary world... a doomsday scenario
    On Tue, 2005-12-06 at 12:07 +0100, M. wrote:
    > On 12/6/05, Andrea Arcangeli <> wrote:
    > On Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 09:31:30AM -0500, Brian Gerst wrote:
    > > The problem with this statement is that Linux users are a
    > drop in the
    > > bucket of sales for this hardware. Boycotting doesn't cost
    > the vendors
    > > enough to make them care. And this does nothing for people
    > who are
    > > converting over to Linux, and didn't buy hardware with that
    > > consideration in mind.
    > Effectively this is why 3d drivers are the only thing we
    > litearlly lost
    > control of. But my email was general. I wasn't only speaking
    > of 3d
    > hardware.
    > For 3d you're very well right, but once linux becomes
    > mainstream in the
    > desktop, things could change.
    > Without proper hardware support linux is not going to become
    > mainstream in the desktop area. In fact It's adopted in offices, by
    > governments and schools for security, reliability and
    > (low $$).

    but... "proper hardware support" can be open source, that's the whole
    point! Everyone considering binary only support "full" causes the entire
    problem of not being able to run without binary modules anymore, which
    in turn means you're either stuck with enterprise distro kernels, or
    linux is stuck with a kernel that can't be developed on anymore in a 2.7
    style series.

    Nobody is arguing that hardware shouldn't be supported, to the contrary.
    I and others are arguing that short term binary only "support" isn't
    real support in the long term, and in both the long and short term leads
    to a significant reduction in choice. Note: NVidia right now is nice
    enough to do the blob+glue layer thing. Many others don't, they only
    provide modules for certain enterprise distros. Now those schools and
    governments of course run those enterprise distros... but what does that
    gain in the end? Security? It doesn't; several of these binary modules
    actually introduce security holes (the most famous one is an old 3D
    driver of a company I won't name that had a "make me root" ioctl).
    Price? Well those enterprise distribution companies need to make money
    somehow... so while the price may be lower... you're stuck to them

    > So , without some sort of effort from kernel developers, things
    > arent going to change.

    I would turn this around; without some sort of effort from the USERS,
    things aren't going to change. As long as USERS don't use their purchase
    power to urge vendors that linux and open source are important, nothing
    is going to improve. Going binary is not a long term improvement! It's
    more like a quick shot of heroin that makes you feel better today,
    rather than going to a psychiatrist who helps you out of your depression
    for the rest of your life.

    > There could be, for example, a limited but stable API for
    > external/binary stuff. This could force hardware vendors to lately use
    > the current API for better performance and thus releasing drivers with
    > an open layer a la NVIDA & c. or even opensource.

    doesn't work; such a limited api wouldn't be used by the majority of
    those modules, simply because most of them want to touch internals for
    some reason (probably lack of judgement and just because they can, but

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