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    SubjectRe: Linux in a binary world... a doomsday scenario
    On Mon, Dec 05, 2005 at 04:18:51AM -0800, William Lee Irwin III wrote:
    > The December 6 event is extraordinarily unlikely. What's vastly more
    > likely is consistent "erosion" over time. First the 3D video drivers,
    > then the wireless network drivers, then the fakeraid drivers, and so on.

    I agree about the erosion.

    I am convinced that the only way to stop the erosion is to totally stop
    buying hardware that has only binary only drivers (unless you buy it to
    create an open source driver or to reverse engineer the binary only
    driver of course! ;).

    For example if a laptop has an embedded wirless or 3d card not supported by
    open source drivers, buy a laptop without any wireless card or without
    3d, instead of buying one with the not-supported hardware without using
    it (I can guarantee there are still laptops that requires no 3d
    binary only drivers and no wirless cards drivers, even for the winmodems
    you can choose the ones supported by alsa). We literally have to refuse
    buying those cards with binary only kernel drivers.

    Every time we buy a piece of hardware with binary only drivers we admit
    that the binary only driver vendors are doing the right choice for their
    stockholders. Only when we refuse to buy it, we can make a slight difference.
    When we don't buy hardware without open source drivers, we send the
    message to the shareholders that the management is causing them a loss.

    It's market forces controlling which drivers are open sources and which
    aren't (the risk of being sued and the cost of the laywers is only part
    of the more complex equation), and the customers have an huge strength
    in controlling those forces (we effectively control 50% of it).

    The fact Arjan got the "nvidia fanboy" complaining, is the sign that
    some people just don't care. This understandable for a 3d kind of
    product which is 90% for entertainment (nobody loses money when it
    crashes), and we generally can't expect everyone to care about the long
    term kernel development.

    But at least for all more business oriented usages of linux, linux users
    should understand the erosion they create by funding companies that
    requires binary only drivers.

    Every time we buy an hardware with a binary only driver, we effectively
    increase the erosion, or we give a sound reason to those company to keep

    I think messages like the one from Arjan are very positive to let people
    understand the long term effect of binary only drivers, but this should
    be combined with the strategy to use to reduce the erosion (i.e. not to
    buy hardware that has binary only drivers).

    Perhaps we should add a printk that points to an url on
    including Arjan's message every time a non-gpl module gets loaded by the
    kernel. I think it's a matter of educating the customer too or they can
    do mistakes, creating a blacklist would help too.

    I don't believe in the breaking of the 3d drivers gratuitously, it
    should be market forces deciding which drivers have to be open sources
    and which not. But our side of the market (i.e. the buyers) must be
    educated properly.
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