[mythtv-users] Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500
jeffsimpson at alum.wpi.edu
Wed Apr 19 12:06:46 UTC 2006
> > I've been looking at my system and you know what? It is RIDDLED with
> > "proprietary binary blobs".
> > There's one in my BIOS chip, they exist in the microcode in the CPU,
> > they are in my SCSI controller. The firmware in my hard drives is NOT
> > "open source", even some stuff in our beloved PVRs is "closed source".
> > My God, it's everywhere. This is terrible !
> > So why are we picking on the graphics card makers ???
> Because they shove their binary blobs into the kernel.
His point was that a LOT of other companies use closed-source binary
on a LOT of other products. People only complain about video cards.
> This is not rocket science. Nobody cares if you need to upload a firmware
> blob to the card, to run. This has been going on for ages, and nobody has a
> problem with that. And, over time, they even wrote a fairly good
> implementation for the entire infrastructure needed to do that (hotplug).
The point is WHY does nobody care? The answer is not "because it has
been going on for ages", because guess what, video card drivers have
been binary for ages, too. ALL drivers were binary until linux, and
the ones that are open are the ones that were not provided by
manufacturers, except in a few rare cases.
> > I guess because it resides on OUR ram and hard drives, and not on
> > some other device ?
> Please, don't try to guess like that. The results aren't pretty.
Hey, that's a pretty darn good guess. It's really the ONLY difference
between a driver being closed-source and firmware. It's still my
hardware running non-open code.
> > So what, code is code, no matter where it is located. I wish there
> > were open-source drivers for video cards, but if people want to get
> > silly, like not allowing "non-GPL" stuff to link into the kernel,
> > then we would have to get rid of a lot of things besides our picture
> > makers.
> Nope, I'm afraid that video card drivers are pretty much it. Occasionally
> there's a wireless card that's also guilty, but for the most part it's just
> the video cards.
That's the point - why is it that video cards are held to some kind of
magical double standard where they are crucified for providing
free-of-charge well-written binary drivers? If the other free
open-source drivers were half as good as the binary ones, we wouldn't
be whining. Conversely, if the OTHER manufacturers (the ones that do
provide or are supported by open-source) had hardware that was even
CLOSE to as good as nvidia, we'd be going there. As one of the
slashdot discussion comments said "usability before ideology". MOST of
us are flexible enough in our software ideals to allow ourselves to
use a binary driver to get the best results. What did you
open-source-fanatics do before linus graced us all with Linux? Did you
seriously code your own operating system, or did you buy unix / ms-dos
and just deal? If you don't like the nvidia driver, write your own,
put-up-or-shut-up. Till then, I am happy with companies that do their
best and provide FULL-FEATURED and WORKING drivers for their hardware,
even if it is closed-source. I bought my computer so that it would
work, not so that I could exercise my "right" to free software. I use
linux because it does more than windows, not because it costs less.
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