Non-free drivers (Re: Invitation to ubuntu developers)

Tim Schmidt timschmidt at
Thu Nov 30 07:17:11 GMT 2006

On 11/30/06, Mark Reitblatt <Mark at> wrote:
> > Agreed.  Free drivers do so in all but the most exotic situations (a
> > very occasional weird laptop for example).
> I pointed out to you earlier that this is simply not true. A Dell
> 2007FP is hardly "exotic". If the open drivers performed as well as
> you continuously claim, then I would be using the nv driver instead. I
> have no need for 3-D, merely properly working 2-D.

Huh?  I said fairly explicitly that Free drivers can do 1024x768...
enough to 'install and hit the net'.  You're complaining because your
$500 monitor will only do 1280x1024?

nv can probably drive your monitor at it's native resolution too,
given appropriate options...  Regardless, it works well enough for you
to install the nvidia driver.  Especially if it's a one-click

> 1) They are not always capable of doing the things that need doing.

Neither is Linux.  We should switch this list over to Windows development.

> 2) We are not talking about replacing them. They will still be there.
> We are talking about using the more capable binary-only drivers by
> default when appropriate. In other words, providing the user with the
> best tool for the job right from the start.

Your definition of best.  Mine includes things like security,
maintainability, redistribution, openness, documentation,
interoperability, independence, and respect for the license under
which it's used.

> 3) If the nv driver had the capability to get the resolution right
> every time the binary-only driver did, I would support your position.

Getting the best possible resolution is a great goal.  Working well
enough (to read a web page, click an icon, or use synaptic), while
remaining consistent to the goals Ubuntu has aspired to from the start
is better than saying 'screw you!' to the rest of the community so you
can do 1600x1200 without having to click an icon.

In fact, it's downright lazy and selfish.

> I think this conversation has more than worn itself out. Arguing about
> all the wonderful benefits and magic pixie dust bestowed by Nvidia
> simply opening up their drivers has no place on the Ubuntu-Devel list.
> You've made your position perfectly clear, and so has everyone else.

Heh.  No magic.  No pixie dust.  No opened drivers.  Documentation,
specs for chips.  That's all that need be released.  Intel had no
problems doing that.  ATI did it once.  3Dfx did it for it's entire
line.  Matrox.  There's more.  Indulging Nvidia's wish to work outside
the the community, giving nothing back, is your choice.  Forcing it on
others isn't.


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