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Re: Possibly offtopic : Binary only driver

On Sun, November 21, 2004 8:07 pm, Sean Middleditch said:
> On Sun, 2004-11-21 at 19:48 -0500, Sean wrote:

> Because you can't ever service them if things don't change.  Try reading
> what I wrote...
> If Linux isn't ready *now*, then obviously that's because something is
> wrong.  That something is what I addressed.  Either it changes, and
> Linux becomes ready, or it doesn't change, and it never becomes ready.
> Simple.

No i don't think you've listed the only options.   I've installed FC3 on
two computer recently and they just simply worked.   No geek factor
needed, put the DVD in the drive and follow the installation screens.  
Done deal.   The fact that there are machines that don't go so easily will
be resolved when more drivers come compiled in kernel and when hardware
doesn't change quite so often.   Simple.

> Yes.  Practically no-name brand computers that very few people buy, and
> most who do are very likely to install Windows down the road.  I've
> watches *many* people gladly pay $200 for a copy of Windows to install
> on the dirt-cheap Linux-based computer provided them.

Windows is the dominant operating system with way more applications than
Linux, I don't think they main problem is hardware support here.

> Did you even read a single word in the above paragraph past the first
> sentence?  You just asked a series of questions that the entire
> paragraph is dedicated to.

*shrug*  So we need hardware developers to target Linux drivers sooner
rather than later.   Again, they're welcome to do that today with no
changes required.   Automatic updating of kernels can be built in to
installation processes etc..

> What fundamental things?  It being GPL?  There are dozens and dozens of
> open source operating systems around these days.  Linux is only being
> discussed on this list, and only of interest to those hundreds of
> millions of people, because it got to a point of being actually useful.
> Linux's fundamental point to many people is that it's a great OS from a
> technical perspective that is usable to many people.  Open Source is a
> means to that end.  It is not the end itself.  To some, perhaps, but not
> all.

That's fine, but the developers are involved because they are making an
open source operating system.   They aren't making a closed source
operating system.

> And this is where my point lies.  It is developers thinking like you who
> are guaranteeing that Linux is a niche OS.  "Who gives a flying hoot
> about users, let's just keep playing with our toy."

So it's a niche operating system in its current state, lets not waste any
time going in the wrong direction.   Spend more time making a great
operating system with huge amount of hardware support and the problems
will eventually be much reduced.   To a point where more and more people
can use Linux without a problem or thought.  Do you honestly think that if
tomorrow Linux enforced an ABI that Windows would be supplanted any time

> No, they are not non-existent.  I run RHEL on many systems, and still
> run into these problems.  Each version of RHEL is incompatible, and it
> is not the only "enterprise" Linux OS in existence

Ever try upgrading Windows 2.0 to 3 ?  or  98 to 2000?   Same problems.

> Not if read the primary argument in my mail.  Source is useless to
> people who cannot compile it.

Well, maybe looking at ways to get compiled source into the hands of end
users would be more fruitful instead of demanding that developers change
the nature of what they're doing.

> And one of the prime points myself and others have been making is that
> an open source operating system is useless.  It's a political toy.  Many
> kernel developers do *not* share your vision, and very users do.  Linux
> is interesting because it is a powerful UNIX-like OS that is stable,
> secure, offers an excellent development platform, and has many
> interesting applications and operating environments like KDE and GNOME.
> The fact that it's Open Source itself isn't of interest - it's just
> something that helped Linux get where it is.

Yes, and it's what will take it into the future successfully.   There's
very little reason to think that making it more like the other operating
system choices would make it better.   You say yourself BSD doesn't have
this ABI problem yet it hasn't crushed Windows has it?

> Absolutely *NOTHING* I argued for in my mail stops Linux from being an
> Open Source operating system.  Nothing.  I even explicitly stated that
> I'm fine with Linux (the kernel) becoming even *more* GPL-centric.  The
> problem is that even *developers* have a difficult time because not only
> to ABIs break, but APIs break.  You *have* be development-savvy and keep
> on the bleeding edge to get anywhere with Linux in many cases.  And
> there's *NO* reason for it.  None.   It is completely fixable without
> breaking your vision of what is fundamental to Linux.

Ok, then perhaps there's less that differentiates our positions than I
thought.   The developers feel that having the flexibility to change the
ABI is a net win.  Of course it creates problems for some, but over all it
has allowed Linux to get where it is today, so it can't be all that bad a


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