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Re: Limits to what can be done without source

Les Mikesell wrote:
On Wed, 2006-05-17 at 15:10, Andy Green wrote:

Except that users of binary blobs are often in for long waits to get a new version with their bug fixed.

As opposed to?  When will we see an SATA driver that passes errors
correctly up to the md layer so a software raid would be
safe to use?  Firewire drives were broken for a long time by an
update in FC3 and I'm not sure it's completely back yet.  Long
waits aren't unique to binaries.

But they are unique to binaries for simple fixes. The SATA driver case may well be sorted in later kernels already... as a wise man said ''If something was ever done right and doesn't work now, that's the problem. There are other problems in doing it right the first time.''

Hum OSX runs on a tiny landscape of platforms, all documented and understood by the OS vendor.
That other vendor covers a lot of equipment too. They aren't bug
free, but I don't think you're going to win a current comparison
at the device driver level on either features or reliability. I've
intentionally limited the hardware I've tried to run under
Linux and still have had problems with mainstream things like
adaptec scsi controllers and Dell's mylex raid cards.

Well I don't want to get into defending Linux against Brand X, I am sat here using Linux in effective ways and it is highly reliable. If a given thing is broken it's nothing that can't be worked around in the same way workarounds are needed for broken areas in everything else I use. With a FOSS solution if I need to get dirty with a workaround then I can find source everywhere I am interested and sometimes that makes all the difference, particularly when it is running on custom hardware. With a binary solution I am just another customer in line with a trouble ticket.

What I have had -- am having right now typing this -- a good experience with is the Xorg nv driver. For me it works very well and has always done so for the functionality it claims to support. It seems a good bet to me that if nVidia donated the sources it currently keeps private into that project then things will go on in the same smooth way but with complete support.

I'm inclined to believe nVidia's claim that they can't disclose
that information because of contracts with their suppliers.  So
that's not one of the choices.

Neither of us know what nVidia's choices are, but my point was that the FOSS equivalent in Fedora has a good track record and works smoothly, whereas working with the deliberately opaque binary causes much support grief. Were nVidia to donate sources as suggested I don't see the nv driver being destabilized but solving the whole issue.

Not least because Fedora would ship with it all in the box.

That part is all politics since nVidia permits redistribution
of their binaries and it is fedora's choice not to do so.

Yes as it stands Fedora bans such nonfree confections. I guess one can imagine nobody got involved with FOSS to increase the reliance of the world on nVidia's binary blobs except maybe nVidia people themselves.

We don't seem to be disagreeing about much.


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