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

Toby Smithe toby.smithe at
Thu Nov 30 17:38:51 GMT 2006

On Thu, 2006-11-30 at 02:17 -0500, Tim Schmidt wrote:
> 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
> operation.

I'd like to add to this. Windows doesn't install at the native
resolution. It even has a dialogue asking you if you want to raise that
at the first boot. Agreed, we aren't aiming to be Windows; but we *do*
want to be better to beat that bug #1. Very few drivers, even, come with
Windows. You'd have to install another there to get your mystic bling
working well unless (unlike me) you are very lucky.

We could easily have this situation, where, as Tim said; there is a
dialogue, or notification, to ask (and explain the situation to) the
user whether they are comfortable with changing. As they say at my
school, everyone has a right to learn. Why limit that? By not using the
free driver, people cannot learn: how well that driver can work, how to
improve the system, what needs fixing. Many, many man-hours were put
into the free driver. Those can be built on, to make something better,
something greater. This cannot happen with the binary driver. It can
happen with the free drivers that provide firmware as well. But it
cannot ever happen with anything non-free.

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