[ubuntu-uk] Free vs non-free drivers etc

alan c aeclist at candt.waitrose.com
Thu Nov 16 10:43:48 GMT 2006

Rob Beard wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I was wondering if I could get peoples general opinion on free vs 
> non-free drivers etc.

I have just attended a BCS talk/discussion on Open vs Closed:


Title:  The ‘Open versus Closed’ Debate			14th November 2006


The talk will cover the open versus closed source software debate, 
plus disclosure of vulnerabilities in security, copyright versus 
creative commons-style licensing and patents in standards.

Is Open Source software more secure than closed source? Is it better 
to have digital content controlled by DRM mechanisms or in an open 
digital format?
Are proprietary data standards or open standards better for the 
computer industry? Are open communications channels a benefit to the 
free flow of ideas or simply a channel for spam? Does anonymous access 
to send and receive information promote freedom of speech or encourage 
the dissemination of illicit material?

Many of the controversial issues about how to design and use computers 
and communications systems today can be characterised as an "open" vs. 
"closed" debate.

Dr Andrew Adams of the School of Systems Engineering at The University 
of Reading.


IIRC the speaker was generally in favour of openness, however, the 
issues are by no means one sided. Business models can fail if an item 
goes open under minority conditions, and can also fail if remaining 
closed when incredibly widely used. It seemed that a streetwise mix of 
open and closed approaches was likely to endure in the market, and the 
evening helped me to respect some closed source situations. I 
concluded personally that my love of openness is healthy and I will 
keep it, along with an awareness of practicality - some closed items 
offer real benefit for some maybe worthy businesses.
alan cocks
Linux registered user #360648

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