[ltp] Re: X30 linux installation

Oisin Feeley linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org
Sat, 31 Mar 2007 10:55:20 -0400

On 3/30/07, Phil <phil@stairbridge.org.uk> wrote:

> The thing that consigns Linux to being a second class citizen is the
> lack of capabilities that people assume all O/Ss have. It has b***er all
> to do with non-free binary-blobs/firmware. While people in the
> open-source world continue to delude themselves that purity is more
> important than functionality they'll continue to produce second-rate
> software.

Well, given that this is a useful technical mailing list instead of a
place for debating I guess we should take this elsewhere.  Probably
you can also guess exactly what my response is going to be to the
above, however, just in case:

it's /exactly/ because of non-free binaries that the two problems you
specifically mention (video card and printing support) exist.  It has
/everything/ to do with manufacturers realising they can pawn off
temporary fixes for some of the people some of the time that we get
stuck with continuing instability of these devices.  They will
continue to take that strategy as long as we continue to buy their

Your characterisation of the argument as being about "purity" is
something you've just pulled out of your imagination.  The reason for
buying hardware which is supported by Free software is that it is more
likely to work and continue working.  Problems can and will get fixed
with Free software.  They don't with closed non-Free blobs.  It's that
simple.  If someone wants a hassle-free laptop experience then
speccing the hardware to make sure that the graphics card is supported
by the Xorg project (especially the recent integrated Intel chips
which are fine unless you're a hardcore gamer), that the printer is
one of the HP models (supported by HP's GPL'ed software) etc is the
easiest way to go.   It's just pragmatic, nothing to do with purity or
morality.   I dont' hate windows, I just don't use it and have no need
for it.  Similarly I don't hate non-Free software, I just don't want
the troubles of dealing with it and can't see why anyone would unless
they're: 1)a gamer (in which case why use a laptop) or 2) dependent on
a proprietary application for work purposes.

Linux isn't a moral crusade, it's a pragmatic, utilitarian approach to
controlling the hardware and software that you own.  (Don't forget
that RMS's initial motiviation is supposed to have been trying to get
a new printer to work and the manufacturer refusing him the
information to write the driver).

Anyway, this is all irrelevant to the main purpose of the list and I
apologise for degrading the signal/noise.

Best wishes,