Non-opensource drivers

Bryan Haskins kingofallhearts999 at
Mon Nov 27 00:19:11 GMT 2006

You sir are my hero. That's just how I thought it should be done. As much of
a Free(dom) Software militant I am I think it still need to be done if only
to later educate users about the evils. And it should not be hidden in some
advanced menu... but right out there (In our new graphical Xorg configurator
that's where! ;) ) We need to give the users everything they could ever need
easily accessable yet guide them in the right direction... in this way we
gain more users by features we dont necessarily agree too... and after
they're long term, we teach them what should be done.

On 11/26/06, Henrik Nilsen Omma <henrik at> wrote:
> Colin Watson wrote:
> > On Sat, Nov 25, 2006 at 03:36:12PM +0100, Soren Hansen wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> So the non-free drivers will be the default with an opt-out option
> under
> >> the "Advanced options" or the other way around?
> >>
> >
> > At present, the accelerated-x specification calls for it to be the
> > default. I don't especially like the idea, but it isn't my call.
> I agree with Colin that we should not include non-free drivers by
> default. (I am also a Canonical employee, but the opinions expressed
> here are solely my own, etc. And likewise it's not my call). I've been
> thinking a bit about how we might do that in an elegant way.
> I suggest we are very up front about it and present it professionally to
> the user. We make it a feature :) We make the 'free drivers by default'
> AND the 'simple availability of desktop acceleration' major selling
> points of the next release. Both to the community and to the end users.
> When the user first boots the system we pop up a window with the
> following message:
> "Your display driver is not optimally configured to work with your
> display card. Click here for more information. "
> You are then given some options.
> [Ignore – continue with the current setup]
> [Just fix it - Install additional drivers]
> [More information – See what you are missing and why]
> Installing the drivers should be very easy – Obviously. We can even ship
> them on the CD so there is no need for an internet connection. This is
> still very different from installing them by default because it gives
> the user a choice and it uses the opportunity to educate. If done
> properly it will still only take 2 minutes to configure and will be
> painless. It should be a much more pleasant experience than searching
> the net or your CD collection for the right graphics driver for Windows.
> The More info option could be accompanied by an animated gif giving a
> taster of the desktop effects. It would be quite difficult to resist
> clicking on it ...
> Doing so would bring up a new window with an embedded video showing all
> the Beryl/Compiz coolness and providing more information. It needs to be
> *very* slick though. This is not just a simple feature demo it is a
> marketing opportunity for desktop effects, free software principles and
> Ubuntu all rolled up into one.
> We should run a contest to have made the best Beryl/Compiz screen casts.
> There are already a ton of these on YouTube so the expertise is clearly
> out there. But we should challenge the community to make high quality
> versions (which must be updated just before release to contain the
> latest artwork). In addition to that there needs to be a story board
> charting how to present the additional information and ensuring that it
> all flows smoothly. This is no longer just about showing off desktop
> coolness but also about putting across a message. The textual
> information and voice-over (or music?) needs to be added professionally.
> We have experience with this from the about-ubuntu video.
> The points we can present to the user are quite simple and strong:
> * Ubuntu is built on Free Software – Why this is good now and for the
> future.
> * A comparison with Vista -- MS vista also has some level of hardware
> acceleration for its desktop on certain selected systems. The difference
> is that selection criteria is not freedom but money: First you need to
> have a powerful and secondly it only comes with the more expensive
> editions of Vista. Ubuntu is free and lets you choose what software you
> wish to use with it.
> * It's easy to install – Just click ...
> If made professionally I don't think this will irritate the users who
> will soon also be faced with Widows Genuine Advantage. Even if a Windows
> activation procedure is successful most users will walk away from it
> with a bad taste in their mouth. MS regards them as dishonest by
> default. With Ubuntu on the other hand you are given a completely free
> choice of what to install and given the honest information about the
> background. Users will see the difference in the approaches and will
> appreciate it.
> Letter campaign button
> After the presentation has been made, the user should be presented with
> a few additional options. Again, you can simply install the proprietary
> drivers and move on, or install additional drivers with a click.
> Additionally you get an option to write a letter of
> complaint/encouragement to Nvidia or ATI. Clicking takes you to a
> web-page where you can add your signature, send an email or download an
> OpenOffice file of a pre-written letter to the relevant graphics card
> maker.
> It should be available in the user's native language. Just the community
> effort of translating these and the subsequent work required by the
> recipients to translate them back (if they do that – from experience
> with Amnesty governments and companies actually do this) would create
> quite a bit of buzz around the issue. What better way to measure the
> number of user who are using Ubuntu and would like Nvidia/ATI to cater
> better for them than in metric tons of paper!
> Basically, If we go with free drivers by default though we could beat on
> the big drums about it. From the community POV we will have done the
> right thing and regarding the end users we can justify presenting it
> up-front and centre because (a) it's a major new feature (b) their
> involvement is required to activate it and (c) we are educating them.
> We could even let the Live CD run with non-free drivers by default and
> ask the user to confirm that choice before installing it with Ubiquity.
> Letting the user run non-free drivers on the Live CD is less bad than
> installing them. And even that (Live CD use) is greatly mitigated by
> being up-front and educational about it IMO.
> There is non-free software in the world and we have to live with that
> fact. The question is not whether we put it on a server or a CD but
> whether we are trying to push the world in the right direction or not.
> Henrik
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