[vdr] OT: issues about binary only code in GPLed programs [WAS] future VDR and Net??eiver OEM from Reelmultimedia

Georg Acher acher at in.tum.de
Sun Jul 1 14:50:53 CEST 2007


On Sun, Jul 01, 2007 at 12:33:39PM +0200, Clemens Kirchgatterer wrote:
 
> > > because that means they get an stable and well performing OS at zero
> > > cost for their embedded designes what makes these chips sell better.
> > 
> > So what? Wasn't it idea of free Software to get it without paying for
> > it?
> 
> no. and i'm a little bit shocked to read this from you. i hope this is
> just an unlucky wording.

No, it's not. Free is free, you can't make differences between hardware
vendors using Linux as a basis for their HW and SW vendors using Linux as an
OS for their SW. And that's exactly the intention of your wording ("zero
cost"). 

> > Or is there a newly inserted paragraph about hardware vendors to
> > pay something if they use free SW?
> 
> sarcasm does not help here either. 

Oh, it helps a lot to tolerate opinions from people who don't know what's
behind selling hardware with chips from others. There are things you can't
change, eg. NDAs.

> free software does not care about how practical or profitable it is for
> you to fulfill your distribution-license requirements.

Until now, there's AFAIK no legal decision that you are not allowed to
include binary only modules in the kernel. If it gets that far, we will put
in user space. No real gain, but if it helps...
  
> > The usual practical "anti-binary" arguments for a PC platform (new
> > mainboard requires new kernel) don't count here, it's an embedded
> > system. You can't simply switch the kernel anyway, as it has many
> > additions for the V4L-stuff.
> 
> what if i wan't to put additional faetures into the card? what if i
> want to fix a bug in the firmware? benefit from performance improvments
> in later kernel releases?

IMO a theoretical question. This is not file server. It's a video decoding
card. Most of the important stuff is done in the (closed) co-processors
anyway. If you want it to be a file server, you don't need the HDMI output.

> it is not you who has to decide what i do with my hardware. THAT is the
> whole point of free software. get real.

Don't buy it and wait for a card with better Linux support.

I'm beginning to understand why big consumer hardware vendors won't do Linux
support at all, if they get always this friendly reception...
 
> [..]
> 
> many people don't care about their freedom as users. either because
> they don't have the knowledege to fiddle with the software themselfs or
> they rather have binary drivers for their expensive / high performance
> video card than free drivers for a cheep one. fine. but at least
> vendors MUST respect the will of the countless developers who release
> their work under the license of their choice for a reason.

Apropos "developers": How much do YOU already have developed for the Linux
kernel, DVB-API or vdr? I've made the experience that the loudest people in
this GPL issue have the least contributions...

But it's getting tedious. Take it or leave it, that's all I can say.
-- 
         Georg Acher, acher at in.tum.de         
         http://www.lrr.in.tum.de/~acher
         "Oh no, not again !" The bowl of petunias          



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