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

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wayne wrote:
> You're right, I have not had time to read about the differences between
> free software and open source. When it becomes important to me I will.

I'm glad to read that you'll consider what the GNU project has to say on the
topic of software freedom--there's some real wisdom on those GNU philosophy

> I guess I do not really understand what you mean by free.

I mean the same thing the FSF refers to.  I'll try to boil it down to be
brief, but you can read their definition at

  A program is Free Software for you if you have the freedoms to

   * Run the program whenever you want, for whatever reason,
   * study the program whenever you want, for whatever reason,
   * copy the program whenever you want, for whatever reason,
   * modify the program whenever you want, for whatever reason,
   * and distribute the program to whomever you want, for whatever reason.

Studying and modification require source code access, realistically
speaking.  You should be able to combine these freedoms to do useful things
to help yourself or your community (like distributing modified versions of
programs).  If you have all those freedoms, the program is Free Software for
you.  The same program might not be Free Software for someone else (they
might have received a copy of the same program under a different license).

Paying attention to these freedoms built our community and does a really
good job of helping us ethically increase the amount of software to help
people do what they want to do with a computer.

> Go ahead flame me, I don't care. To me it's not about nVidia or ATI or
> any other company. I enjoy learning and sharing what I know with other
> people. If someone wants to know how to use a proprietary driver under
> Linux and I know how I'll share with them. I figure they are an adult
> (so to speak) and they will have to suffer the consequences of their
> actions.

I am not flaming you.  I think you ought to consider calling the operating
system GNU/Linux so as to: give the GNU project a share of the credit, give
a clearer technical distinction from talking about just the kernal, and not
linking Linus Torvalds' views with that of the ones that got the community
going.  The folks at the FSF ask you to call the GNU operating system with
the Linux kernal "GNU/Linux" in an essay and a FAQ (see for one of the essays, for the FAQ).  Their FAQ is
comprehensive and directly takes on the responses I've seen on this topic.

I agree with you that this is not just about ATI and NVidia.  But I disagree
with you on teaching people about proprietary software.  If we were to all
let our fellow members of the community "suffer" (as you said), I think we
would not be very good friends.  Therefore, I think we should help our
fellow community members by pointing to hardware people don't have to give
up their software freedoms to use.

The idea that one should consider ethics with computers is new for a lot of
people.  I don't think that it should be feared or shunned.  Ethical
behavior makes for a better society overall.

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