Proposal for restricted drivers policy adjustment

Chris Coulson chrisccoulson at
Thu Nov 20 13:29:13 UTC 2008

2008/11/9 Michael Hrabanek <hrabanek at>

> I have been thinking recently about the restricted driver policy. It's
> nice to get hardware directly not supported by kernel to work at least
> by using non-free drivers, but on the other side this could be
> two-edged and lead to ignorance from hw manufacturer because of
> weakening the demand for free drivers or open hardware specification.
> So I believe it would be very useful to take the strenght of Ubuntu
> community and send the clean message to hardware vendors that we
> demand free drivers by adding for example checkbox for something like
> 'I agree with contacting the manufacturer of my hardware with demand
> for free drivers so I won't need to mess with this in the future
> again' and ask for user's name so that ubuntu community can send
> perhaps once per a month an e-mail with every signed name to vendor...
> Or something like that
> When our voices will be loud enough we can make change and get rid of
> proprietary drivers.
> --
> Incoming message contains no viruses because I don't use MS products.
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What you seem to be suggesting is nothing short of harrassment. Although
free drivers are nice, some manufacturers will probably never provide free
drivers (Nvidia, for example). That is their own choice, and you cannot just
bully them in to giving you free and open drivers. Manufacturers are not
obliged to provide you with a free and open driver, and are perfectly within
their rights to choose to provide you with closed-source proprietary

If you demand free drivers, then you have a choice - buy hardware that is
supported with free drivers from vendors that support the development of
these free drivers. You don't have to buy hardware from vendors that only
provide proprietary drivers. If everybody did this, then it would send a
loud and clear message to the hardware vendors that choose only to provide
proprietary drivers, without having to resort to bully-boy tactics like the
one you've suggested.

Your idea will just annoy said vendors and alienate them from the Linux

I've CC'd this to ubuntu-devel-discuss, as I think that list is more
appropriate for any further discussion.

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