Re: nvidia

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On Wed, 2007-10-31 at 03:42 -0400, Ric Moore wrote:
> On Mon, 2007-10-29 at 10:19 -0700, Craig White wrote:
> > On Mon, 2007-10-29 at 03:21 -0400, Ric Moore wrote:
> > > On Sun, 2007-10-28 at 20:05 -0700, Craig White wrote:
> > > > On Sun, 2007-10-28 at 22:37 -0400, David Boles wrote:
> > > > > What is your latest disaster this time anyway? I missed that part of
> > > > > this
> > > > > thread.
> > > > ----
> > > > Les' mission is to save us from the evils of GPL license.
> > > 
> > > Not so, no where did Les say that, Craig. I know Les ...he has a bunch
> > > of coding chops under his belt and he's a helluva decent human being.
> > > The point is that it needn't be anathema if the only way to get a device
> > > working correctly is to use a driver from the manufacturer. Sure, pang
> > > on them until the cows come home to open up their code. I believe in
> > > that. One day everyone will see * * The Light * *. Guys like Alan Cox
> > > could tell them a thing or three or ten about proper interfacing to the
> > > kernel. 
> > > 
> > > Meanwhile, getting stuff to work is a consideration for Joe Lunch de
> > > Bucket, Les, me and a bunch of others. And, we deal with what we got as
> > > we can. :) Ric
> > ----
> > evidently you don't know Les all that well or simply haven't tracked his
> > feelings about GPL
> Read the book I just wrote. I know Les pretty darn well, for never
> having met him in person. I understand where he is coming from and it
> takes just a perception shift to understand Les. He's an old school
> ex-navy coder that takes a very personal interest in computing systems.
> He's not some script kiddie or Joe Lunchbucket whining about the latest
> space game not working. 
> His position is the same as mine that if the GPL stops you **utterly in
> your tracks** from doing useful stuff, then the old-school "Right Thing"
> principle kicks in. You look for a solution, any solution to get the job
> done. Something is rotten in Denmark when the goal is being righteous as
> opposed to being Right. I used to think that the old Debian crowd were
> the only zealots in Linux Land. If someone in the know on this list had
> told me that there are proprietary bits missing and that to solve the
> problem would be to use the nVidia supplied driver, I would be several
> months ahead of where I am now. I'm royally jerked that someone knew
> this and didn't tell me on the list out of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.
> Period. The little bit of pay that I get comes from donations to our
> Non-Profit, from some great people and almost two months worth was
> wasted while I was sweating bullets. See why I'm pissed? I thank GOD
> that Les stepped up to help me regain lost ground. He really knows his
> stuff. Far more than you would guess. I thank Lonnie for cluing me in as
> well. He was right, as my problem vanished immediately.  
> OTOH, I will email nVidia (while I know that Lonnie is in lurking mode
> here) and ask that they at least Open Source the the older hardware code
> where the added benefit is that they don't have to provide nor maintain
> it anymore. They can do the same for the Winders crowd. What say you? I
> think that would be a dandy idea with the added benefit that NVidia just
> upped the ante on their competitors. Any free press is GOOD PRESS! Right
> Lonnie? I know you're there! Make this thing happen, if you can. That
> will also be the "Right Thing". Ric
There are several "les"s on this list.  I would like to be referred to
as Lesh to help all of 
you keep straight who is who.  I will be signing as lesh from now on.  

Les Mikesell is the other Les here who is quite experienced, while I am
still somewhat of a noobie, having used Linux under Fedora only about 2
years, and mostly now for reading mail and some hacking about with some
3d apps (and some toys for myself).

I don't really care where a driver comes from.  FOSS would be wonderful,
but I bought this computer for certain features, which I got as a real
deal at the time.  Now you can pretty much match it for about what I
paid for it, but with inflation figured in it is now about 20% cheaper.

What I want is an OS that works efficiently (as does Linux and Windows),
that is relatively safe from intrusion (Linux from my experience), and
that I can understand well enough to do the coding I need to do (Windows
right now, with some exceptions, and Linux) and a good support team (you
guys).  The rest of the discussion about why Nvidia ought to open their
drivers is relatively immaterial to my personal needs.  

	I think the driver interface is somewhat problematic on both sides.  As
peripherals become smarter (to offload the cpu) the interface must
evolve to deal with new capabilities, or be setup in such a way that any
number of capabilities can be quickly addressed within the driver by the
means of pointers to the relevant argument stream.  The problem with
pointers is that they give the malicious coders an open door to raid the
system, and at the driver level, this is really a weakness because the
requirement to "guard the gate" is very difficult when pointers are
passed around.  

	Thus things like SELinux, virus scanners, memory gating, and so forth,
all of which impact the thru-put which was the original reason for using
pointers.  It is a catch 22, but a vital one to address so that systems
can continue to evolve.  

	Object programming is a potential issue of weak structure, where you
don't know what was coded into the object at inception, and in many
cases is not well documented.  Additionally you may not be able to
"figure it out" even with the code available, especially in a project of
any size (thank you to the wonderful oxymoron of "self documenting

	If we migrate to runtime objects instead of object orientation, it is
possible to have malicious code that is self replicating, producing its
own objects, which is another issue.  

	Objects also can directly contribute to code bloat.  The OS's are now
so huge that I don't really know how they got that big or how long they
can sustain the exponential growth that has occurred.  I believe object
coding is part of the reason, along with some missing structural
understanding that might mitigate this growth, but I haven't studied the
problem in depth, because my real interests lie elsewhere, and that is
the crux of the problem.  No longer is it possible for one person or
team capable of wrapping their hands around the full structure of an OS
and the associated utilities, which further complicates the issues

	The proprietary driver issue is not one of simplistic issues either.
If you have the code that drives a device, you have a window into the
operation of that device, its strengths and weaknesses.  If you are a
competing vendor, you can then exploit the weaknesses for profit by
building a better product.  You might think the consumer wins in this
case, but that is not so.  This is finesse by evolution, and a group of
companies will grow up focused on this aspect.  Since they have no major
development costs (the basics are done by their competition whose work
they leverage), they can reduce their prices, to the point of driving
out the innovators.  The result of that becomes no "step increase" in
capability, which results in only moderate change.  This model will
succeed, but eventually some totally new avenue will have to open for
innovation to begin again, and so for some indefinite interval, the
community will suffer.  Think Microsoft vs Linux for this picture, on
various applications.

     I. 	The question is not whether proprietary is necessary or not,
        but whether we can continue innovation without proprietary
        profit driven innovation.  Can people protect their inventions,
        and profit from them enough to encourage them to continue to
        innovate?  If FOSS is dominate, how can that happen?  Where will
        the best minds and talent go?  I don't know the answer.  I don't
        think Software should be Free as in given away, but as in
        freedom as the GPL is attempting to make it.  I do think
        innovators, inventors and engineers should profit from their
        work, not as maintainers, but strictly on the basis of
        innovation and invention, and they should directly get the lions
        share of their innovation's rewards.  Today that is not true.
        Maybe GPL, and Linux can change that.  I hope so.

Les H

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