On Wed, 25 Aug 2004, Bryan O'Donoghue wrote:
> In my defence, what I'd respond to there, is that, in the real
> world, it's much easier for me to pop out to the shops in a Town
> like Tralee and *just buy* a card that works under Linux.
Right, essentially you dont care at all about binary-only drivers,
your pragmatism-comfort-level, on the scale of short to long term is
set all the way to 'right now, this minute'.
I'm honestly not trying to be personally insulting or anything. just
pointing out what is almost a fact: If it comes to "binary only
hardware, today" vs "open, next week", you choose the former.
> didn't do what I needed them to do or were just broken.. so buying
> from shops is much *safer*.
I've never had problems with online retailers. I've had far more
problems with brick-and-mortar retailers.
> Yes I'd prefare to have that theoretical control over the system.
> From where I saw it, there was a known Linux and FreeBSD driver,
> which would satisfy my 'need' on a pragmatic level, if not 'higher
> theoretical' desire to have a totally open and controlled system.
What theoretical? You have it, today.
> mentalities don't 'totally' equate.. I think there is sufficient
> correlation, to draw a comparison of sorts....
Such as? ??
> Unfortunately, I think that when Linux becomes more proliferic,
> that there will be alot more closed systems that simply run on top
> of it... because many programming houses couldn't/wouldn't be
> willing to give away their code and move their business model to
> one of support. Ergo, close source will always be 'some' sort of
> fact of life.... well probably.
Yes, indeed. And that doesnt matter, as you point out it's "on top
of", that's fine. It's the "below" bits that are the problem.
> I did search locally quite extensively, the Nvidia card was the
> only PCI card I found, and fortunately it also had S-Video, which
> was the only *actual* requirement...
Quite extensively? If you spent days searching for this S-Video out
PCI card, you'd have been quicker just going to komplett.ie ;)
> Yes in theory.
No, in practice. The various bits exist already to varying extents.
Eg, the only thing my AP is missing is the trusted part, which exists
too, eg, see the X-Box for a "trusted" PC platform.
No theory about it, all the pieces exist.
> can write some code for the fun project... do you honestly believe
> *anybody* on the list would turn down a project which was a much
> _fun_ as that?
What's that got to do with it?
> Equally, various parts of the hardware on your system could have
> trojaned code running inside of it.
> The Intel X-Scale for example, comes with chunks of code that get
> downloaded to the CPU and act as a 'network core'...
Err, no. I think you're confusing the Xscale with the IXP2x00, which
are Xscales with added network bits, "microengines", which are fully
documented by Intel btw, TTBOMK.
> applies, the current generation of X-Scales could have trojaned
> code for Echelon running inside of them... perhaps with clever set
> of algorithms, which sends out random noise... that is actually
> 'magically' tokenised data that has been graphed at the network
> driver level...
Intel P6, AMD Athlon and K8 also have undocumened, soft-replaceable,
microcode. Though, by virtue of them being quite small (AMD K7
microcode is less than 2k max iirc) scope for implementing a TCP/IP
capable, internet-enabled spyware is very limited. However, the scope
for kernel drivers and, even more so, user-mode binary only blobs to
do things is far greater.
Also, you arguing from a flawed position, you're countering a
"everything *must* be free or I wont use it" position, which is not
my position, nor that of anyone else here.
Further, a logical fallacy:
- Firmware X is closed source
- Driver Y is closed source
- Open software is preferable
- X is closed source
- Use of X is accepted
- Use of Y is ok
does not follow.
Just because CPU microcode, or CDRW drive firmware or .... is closed
source, is not a good reason to accept that your Linux kernel driver
and XFree drivers for your graphics card should be closed.
Like saying "we put up with Dictator foo doing bad things, so we can
put up with ....". One suboptimal situation, however tolerable, does
not justify tolerating the same type of suboptimality in another
context, especially when the consequences in this other context are
ie the context of proprietary firmware in a very limited environment
versus code running in a full blown Unix environment, with libc, full
networking APIs, etc.
> With all that said.. if the X-Scale was the only chip which could
> do the job... I'd use it... with the nagging understanding that
> I'd compromised by using "magic" closed code from Intel.
I'm pretty sure you would. Note that code might (or might not) be
closed, however that architecture is fully documented. Intel are
actually good in that respect.
> You pays your penny. You takes your pick.
Right, except that the short-term pragmatism of you and others has a
detrimental on long-term health of Free Software, which will
eventually impact you too.
> Dermot, I'm no barrister, but doesn't the European copyright
> directive compare to the DMCA, which libdvdcss *is* as far as I can
> glean, basically illegal?
I'm not dermot. And I dont see how libdvdcss is relevant to core
hardware support ;). But yes EUCD is a problem. However, existence of
EUCD doesnt make libdvdcss illegal. EU directives are not law, they
are directives to be implemented in legislation in member countries.
That legislation can potentially still contain fair use provisions.
I've no idea what state EUCD implemenation is in.
Paul Jakma paul at clubi.iepaul at jakma.org Key ID: 64A2FF6A
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