We need a good and simple hardware database for Free Software users.

wayne wayne at zkcelltest.com
Mon Dec 8 17:31:57 UTC 2003

I truely hate to continue this 'religious' discussion but ...

>Learn about software freedom.  You've probably only thought of
>computers in
> terms of practical advantage, and not to cherish the freedoms to share and
> modify software.  Typically it takes a problem (like a security breech, loss
> of privacy, or some other calamity) to get people to value software freedom.

This attitude is so naive. Most of the money that goes into software and
hardware comes from people who don't know how to modify their software
and don't really care. And they will never care. However, you do, or at
least should, care. This is the money that drives the research that
drives the advances in technology.

As I think RMS argues quite well, what you have is not really support. 
> dependence.  And how ironic it is that with Red Hat's GNU/Linux you are
> benefitting from an entire operating system filled with software community
> can support, but you choose to throw that away for a video card driver.

This is only true if you have the knowledge to modify the source code
yourself. If you do not have these skills and knowledge you are still
dependant on someone.

> It's not beneficial to argue for laziness and short-term convenience. What
> happens when NVidia stops supplying drivers or someone wants to improve or
> debug their drivers?
What happens if the people working on the open source drivers decided
they don't want to support your hardware anymore. If you don't have the
technical ability to write your own, you are still in the same boat...

You go out and buy a new one, the one you have is obsolete anyway ;-)
(Note all my video cards are 4+ years old and I only paid for 1 of them.
Okay, so I'm cheap)

> Hardware manufacturers make money on the
> sales of the hardware, not the software that comes with it.  Nobody buys
> only a copy of the NVidia driver
Hardware manufacturers make money selling things. Some make it on the
hardware and other make their money selling software. One does not work
without the the other.

The graphics industry is different than many others. Graphics companies
live and die buy benchmarks. Benchmarks are determined by the hardware
AND the software. Companies spend millions of dollars developing
hardware and software to make their graphics cards the fastest. People
go out and buy the fastest. It does not really how much faster and it
does not matter that they will never be able to tell the difference 90%
of the time. You can't blame the graphics card manufacturers for this. I
don't know that it even bothers me. Hey, if someoe wants to pump a whole
bunch of money into the R&D of computer graphics cards, why should I

Don't get me wrong, I have no complaints about free software (other than
the religious zealotry.) I am working on switching the computers I use
over to Linux and other free software. As I become more familiar with
Linux and have learned enough, I hope to contribute some of my copious
free time to the development of free software. Many projects lend
themselve to the free software model. The thing to keep in mind is that
software and models of developing software are really just tools.To most
of us they are just means to an end. And "if the only tool you have is a
hammer then everyting looks like a nail"

Anyway, back to the topic of this thread ...

What we really need is a simple database of hardware and the support it
has under Linux. nVidia *should* be listed. Furthermore, the list
*should* make it very clear that the drivers are not open source. This
would serve both sides. <tongue_in_cheek>The leaches that just want to
profit of the work of others would be able to figure out how to use
their proprietary nVidia drivers, and the free software zealots would
have a quick list of who do boycott</tongue_in_cheek>

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