Ubuntu reaches out to embarrassed SuSE devs

Craig White craigwhite at azapple.com
Sat Nov 25 17:25:38 UTC 2006

On Sat, 2006-11-25 at 10:09 -0700, Charles Curley wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 25, 2006 at 04:23:05PM +0000, Alan wrote:
> > > We are hosting a series of introductory sessions for people who want to 
> > > join the Ubuntu community - in any capacity, including developers and 
> > > package maintainers. If you want to find out how Ubuntu works, how to 
> > > contribute or participate, or how to get specific items addressed, there 
> > > will be something for you. I’ll also be on IRC on Tuesday 28th to answer 
> > > any questions you may have of me specifically, such as Luis’ questions 
> > > about our position on software patents.
> > 
> > Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. We have "lets ship probably
> > illegal binary modules with the next version of the OS" lecturing people
> > who struck a deal with Microsoft which is borderline on the GPL.
> Once upon a time, "probably illegal" was not the same as "illegal",
> and there used to be a presumption of innocence until proven
> guilty. This was back in the days of Magna Carta and bills of
> rights. Of course the Bush and Blair governments have done as much as
> they can to drop those concepts down the memory hole. There is no need
> to follow that lead here. Until such time as Nvidia, ATI, et al., tell
> Mr. Shuttleworth and his merry band otherwise, shipping those binaries
> with Ubuntu is fine with me.
legality is a fine point that lawyers deal in and I would suppose that
where American laws have driven things in the past, some of these things
move to other shores.

The issue is really about a commitment to open source - how committed
are distributions or people to the concept of open source?

Open source is available for study as well as alteration and a closed
binary is open to neither. Until a recent release of a Nvidia beta
binary, an exploit remained unfixed and available for quite some time
and the open source community had no ability to patch the hole.

Obviously these binaries are available through various supplemental
repositories such as livna and rpmforge which I think is the methodology
used by Ubuntu and not part of the distribution which I think is
important because ultimately, users need to understand why these closed
source binaries aren't part of the distribution and that they have to
take extra steps to incorporate closed source, unchecked packages whose
origin is clearly not open source.


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