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

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wayne wrote:
> 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.

That's not the point.  The point is giving people the freedom to do as they
wish or need to do to make their lives better.  I'm not a car mechanic or an
electrical engineer either, but I certainly benefit from having a car that
can be repaired by people other than my car dealer.  I benefit from having a
house with wiring that can be fixed by any electrician, not just those who
built my house.  I see no reason why I would want to limit myself in my
computer software, despite the fact that I'll never inspect most of the
software I run.  I'd hardly consider these concerns naive because they have
worked so well for so long.

> However, you do, or at least should, care. This is the money that drives
> the research that drives the advances in technology.

Resarch that improves technology is fine, but not if it is done at the
expense of valuable freedoms.  There comes a point where society should
decide that obtaining additional practical gains costs too much and stop
trading away our freedoms for them.

> 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.

But software freedom means the limits are on you, not that Free Software
will make you a programmer or that it requires you need to become a
programmer to use it.  If you choose to not learn to program, that's your
loss.  Just as I don't choose to learn to become a car mechanic.  Again,
better to be dependant on a range of people where you can bargain for the
best deal than to buy into a monopoly.  Proprietary software and hardware
means buying into a monopoly because only one person or organization can
really help you.

> 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...

I'm talking about Free Software, not Open Source.

No you're not in the same situation.  You can hire someone to do the work
you want done.  If you don't like them, you can get someone else to do the
work.  There is a wide community of people out there you can ask to improve
the program for a fee.  Or you can learn to do it yourself.  This
flexibility is not at all the same as with proprietary software.  You can't
even inspect the work the proprietor has done while they "support" the
program (which, as I've said elsewhere, isn't really support at all).

> You go out and buy a new one, the one you have is obsolete anyway ;-)

Obsolescence depends on the qualities for which one is using the device or
program.  It is a practical concern that has nothing to do with software

> 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.

ATI, amongst other manufacturers that work with the Free Software community,
apparently disagrees.

> The graphics industry is different than many others. Graphics companies
> live and die buy[sic] 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.

And none of this has anything to do with software freedom.  Free Software
drivers can still be the fastest for a particular card, but again the key
issue here is freedom, not software speed.

What you're really arguing is that you have become comfortable with your
dependence on proprietors.  You have no practical issues to raise so you
don't understand what the real concern is.  This is common, and precisely
why I noted to a previous poster that this is what happens when people are
taught to value practical ends above all else.  They reject other
considerations that matter far more--issues that actually allow us to have
beneficial practical ends.

> 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"

Clearly you do have complaints with Free Software and you have repeatedly
called names to highlight your desire to make the Free Software movement
focus on practical issues and push aside software freedom.

This entire paragraph makes readers who know the difference between the two
movements think that you're advocating the Open Source movement even though
you are calling it free software.  Open Source is a development methodology,
Free Software is not.  Perhaps you would benefit from spending less time
name-calling and more time reading informative essays like which clearly
explains the difference between the two movements.

> What we really need is a simple database of hardware and the support it
> has under Linux.

I would prefer to talk about the hardware supported under the entire
GNU/Linux operating system, not just the kernel.  And I have already given
reasons for leaving out hardware manufacturers that hurt us.

> nVidia *should* be listed. Furthermore, the list *should* make it very
> clear that the drivers are not open source. This would serve both sides.

There's no reason to "serve" NVidia at all.  It is not our job to help them
sell more people on dependence.  It should be our job to give people
software freedom.

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