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SubjectRe: Why is Nvidia given GPL'd code to use in non-free drivers?
On Fri, Jan 03, 2003 at 03:30:32PM -0500, Richard Stallman wrote:
> > You don't seem to mind the fact that my freedom to use Linux would be
> > hampered if you successfully prove that [non-free] modules for
> > Linux are illegal.
> I'm not trying to prove this--as I see it, Linus gave permission for
> them, which means they are legal. I regret his decision to do this,
> but I cannot change it.

You can't "regret" a decision that somebody else has made. To "regret"
something means to feel sorry for something. You don't have anything to
be sorry about.

> But let's suppose that that were changed. It would not affect your
> "freedom" to use Linux (and GNU/Linux), only whether it runs on a
> certain computer. It is true that this might mean a practical
> sacrifice--you might have to get a different kind of computer, for
> instance. I don't see that as a horrible thing. We look for
> computers that work with free drivers; you can too.

You are limited the scope of this discussion to hardware. For an
example of a software module that I regularly use in my every day job,
consider the MVFS module used to allow dynamic file system access to
ClearCase views. The MVFS module comes with the ClearCase distribution
as a small bit of open source glue, and a closed source object file
that implements MVFS.

> You don't really have freedom now, if you need a non-free module. In
> the long run, your best chance of being able to use a fully free
> GNU/Linux system on the hardware you use is if we stand firm together
> for the freedom of the system.

I have the freedom to use Linux and ClearCase. If closed source modules
were to be disallowed, it would be illegal for me to use this configuration,
and I would be forced to use HP-UX or Solaris, and not Linux.

> You seem to be saying that we should sit back and let these inevitable
> forces either convince all companies to make software free--or not.
> If we had such a passive attitude, no free system would exist.
> GNU/Linux exists because of people who were willing to work to have
> freedom. Freedom does not yet prevail, and we have plenty more work
> to do to make that happen. And after we fully have freedom, we will
> still have to work, to make sure we don't lose it.

I'm saying that if you truly have a just cause, you don't need a hammer
or a sickle to force people to see things your way. Intelligent people
will have no choice but to follow your lead.

Visionaries should have faith in their own vision.


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One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them...

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