Non-opensource drivers

Benj. Mako Hill mako at
Mon Nov 27 00:49:53 GMT 2006

<quote who="Jeremy Schoenhaar" date="Sun, Nov 26, 2006 at 10:48:59AM +0100">
> Am Sonntag, den 26.11.2006, 03:16 -0500 schrieb Benj. Mako Hill:
> > <quote who="Colin Watson" date="Sat, Nov 25, 2006 at 04:44:20PM +0000">
> > > Question: should the same checkbox govern binary wireless drivers (e.g.)
> > > too, i.e. turn off the restricted component altogether?
> > 
> > That makes sense to me. It's what I'd want to do.
> Maybe it would end the flame war over this if we'd say "don't have the
> checkbox checked by default, but make sure it is clearly visable to the
> installing person" maybe with a messagebox type of thing.

This is essentially what Debian did. There was a question that said, "do
you want to activate the non-free repository" or something to that
effect. The default answer was "no." Eventually, the question was
quietly removed and nearly nobody complained. Of course, restricted,
unlike Debian's non-free, is very actively used.

In any case, I wasn't advocating showing a checkbox to every user. I was
suggesting that solving this problem in the way that Colin has suggested
might be a way for users to explicitly state that they don't want
non-free software to be installed or suggested for their machine. This,
IMHO, is something Ubuntu could benefit from.

Specs like Easy Codec Installation[1] should suggest the installation of
non-free codecs to someone who has made a statement that they want their
machine to be wholly free software. If making that statement is not
possible yet, that's a problem. Asking once makes me a bit
uncomfortable. Not providing a way to opt out at all give me hives.



Benjamin Mako Hill
mako at

Creativity can be a social contribution, but only in so
far as society is free to use the results. --RMS

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