ESR's fingerprints all over this

Story: Linspire CEO on opening up CNR: share the breadTotal Replies: 34
Author Content
helios

Jan 25, 2007
8:17 PM EDT
...and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Raymond has enjoyed spotlight status since joining Linspire/Freespire and in doing so has found someone to implement his ideas. The FOSS Purists (that is a good title for those who think differently) have many other distros in which to leverage their influence. Let's let this one go the way it wants. Smart money is betting that Michael is on the right track here and their efforts may help lure those trapped into the MS upgrade cycle back into the sunlight.

h
incinerator

Jan 26, 2007
1:31 AM EDT
sunlight? What sunlight? The pit they'd like to trap you in is painted white instead of blue, but there won't be no sunlight.
helios

Jan 26, 2007
3:08 AM EDT
LOL...If they did not offer a complete Open Source version of the distro, free of ANY proprietary offerings, I would agree with you. The fact that they do indeed make such an offer negates any conspiracy theories as to their intentions. MS Windows is indeed a tar pit. Any distro, commercial, community or a mix of the two that goes to the pains of offering two choices cannot logically be compared to MS or their tactics. This type of fear-mongering is however reminiscent of a certain Redmond Giant.
Egon_Spengler

Jan 26, 2007
4:36 AM EDT
The CLIENT is the only thing being opened. The server is tighter than a drum, and results in another layer ON TOP of whatever package manager you use (yum, yast, apt, yumex, YaST, gDebi) and resides on THEIR servers with apparently daily synchs to the OFFICIAL repositories of the distros mentioned. These people have painted themselves as Saviors of Linux and any announcement they make is tantamount to the Second Coming insofar as their marketing droids paint it. It gets old quite quickly, and this is just another salvo from the P.T. Barnum of linuxdom.
jdixon

Jan 26, 2007
5:54 AM EDT
> These people have painted themselves as Saviors of Linux and any announcement they make is tantamount to the Second Coming insofar as their marketing droids paint it.

With the other distros you have over zealous fans. With Linspire you have marketing. Take your pick. There's little to choose between them. And no, I'm not immune to praising my distro of choice. :)
richo123

Jan 26, 2007
6:19 AM EDT
I don't think this is going to work. Personally the only reasons I can see for using CNR rather than say synaptic in Ubuntu (my distro) are laziness or for some proprietary software like Star Office. As I understand it Canonical will likely offer such proprietary software later this year anyway and what vendor of such software wants to work only through CNR. Besides Star Office seems superfluous in the main to me. Open Office is fine. Where's the hard angle?
tuxchick

Jan 26, 2007
7:18 AM EDT
CNR is pointless. It's not selling, so Linspire is trying to leverage it any way they can. This looks more like desperation than generosity. As so many readers have mentioned, there's a lot more to package management than this kind of hand-waving. I think Linspire would be more successful if they would quit with the doubletalk, and implement some real quality control.

incinerator

Jan 26, 2007
7:25 AM EDT
richo123: exactly, that's their angle. Just imagine this: "Adobe recommends Linspire and offers its Linux version of Adobe Reader and Flash player only through CNR."

Pathetic try at the old-fashioned vendor lock-in. Pathetic, I know, but they seem to try anway.
bigg

Jan 26, 2007
7:40 AM EDT
Well, I didn't want to go there because it's speculative, but as long as someone else did...

We all know about Mark Shuttleworth and his love of the proprietary world. One thing that went through my head when I read about this is his comment on his blog: "My own feeling here is that it’s all about critical mass. Once 5-10% of the people who buy these gadgets are running Linux (actually, a single brand of Linux), only then will the gadget manufacturers themselves start to care about it as a consumer platform for which their stuff should work."

My fear when I heard about this tool was immediately that a few distributions that give Kevin Carmony a pile of cash will get CNR, and those distributions will have access to all the proprietary drivers and the rest of the Linux world is screwed. Shuttleworth's "single brand" could be the few commercial Linuxes with the money to buy their way into CNR.

He can then argue that by limiting our options, we will finally have choice.
richo123

Jan 26, 2007
2:06 PM EDT
bigg,

Like I said before I don't see vendors locking themselves in with CNR unless it was universal which it won't be knowing linux and it's community. Sounds utterly futile to me..... From what I have heard of Ubuntu devs opinions CNR is off the table there.
tuxchick

Jan 26, 2007
2:27 PM EDT
Begging everyone's pardon, but I must insert an almost-related rant here. I'm testing a brand-new laptop with XP home installed (ew cooties I know, but I have to test interoperability crap) and the damn thing does not ship with WPA2 support. WPA2 has been shipping in all wireless products for three years. I happen to know that it's possible to add stuff to operating systems even when they are years old. Howcome I know this but Redmond doesn't? It's a good thing Security Is Job One at microshaft, or I would be very annoyed.

On this exact same laptop I had Debian connected to my access point in two minutes.

Tell me again about how Linux needs to be more like Windows?
jimf

Jan 26, 2007
3:00 PM EDT
> Tell me again about how Linux needs to be more like Windows?

I'm sorry TC. Please forgive me. I tried and I tried but I just can't make myself say the words :(
dek

Jan 26, 2007
3:52 PM EDT
(Tongue_firmly_in_cheek) Linux needs to be more like windows! (/Tongue_firmly_in_cheek)

(I almost bit through my tongue trying to keep from laughing as I was saying it, too!!)
tuxchick

Jan 26, 2007
4:23 PM EDT
Bleeding tongues everywhere. It is a sign of the Apocalypse.

No wait, it's a sign of the Apocalypso. Everyone dance!
bigg

Jan 26, 2007
6:38 PM EDT
richo123:

Up until about a month ago, I was Ubuntu-only on my Linux desktops. I've come to believe that Mark Shuttleworth is a serious threat to the free software world. I don't think he will care what any of the devs say. He will see this as a way to advance Ubuntu and would enjoy the opportunity to send a signal that he won't tolerate Linux competitors. As I read his blog, I see he is a man without a conscience. If he decides to do it, it will happen, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

But as I indicated, this is speculation and I only brought it up because of incinerator's comment.
jimf

Jan 26, 2007
6:53 PM EDT
> But as I indicated, this is speculation

Unfortunately, you're not the first one make that speculation... Not by a long shot.
richo123

Jan 27, 2007
10:17 AM EDT
bigg,

What specifically do you fear? I read his blog occasionally and haven't noticed anything all that strange..... I have been taking part in the Ubuntu community via the forum for quite a while and my sense is that if Mark pulled a stunt a large number of long term community members would jump ship. I know I would. Since the community is the real strength of Ubuntu not Mark's big bucks my guess is he won't.
Sander_Marechal

Jan 27, 2007
11:19 AM EDT
> Since the community is the real strength of Ubuntu not Mark's big bucks my guess is he won't.

Yes, but Mark is the kind of guy that leaps before he thinks. C.f. the posting to the Novell mailing list.
jimf

Jan 27, 2007
11:32 AM EDT
> the kind of guy that leaps before he thinks

Mark is, before all else, an entrepreneur, with all that implies. Not saying that is entirely bad, but it doesn't inspire much trust for me. Most extreme worst case, you can end up with the Gates foundation ;-).
bigg

Jan 27, 2007
11:44 AM EDT
It would be possible for him to pay nvidia for drivers for the latest video cards. They would be available only to Ubuntu users, with the message being that proprietary drivers for one distribution is better than nothing.

I don't think I have any special insights. It's not appropriate for me to make unfounded statements about him. It's just that his position on proprietary drivers and software + the parts of the CNR service that are not fully open + his desire to see other distributions disappear raise flags in my head.

I agree that some individuals, myself included and perhaps you as well, would leave the community. Given the focus on bug #1 within the community, and the obsession with beating Microsoft rather than the availability of free software, I am skeptical that anything he does short of a merger with Microsoft would get a reaction out of most of the community. Red flags go up when we get into all the proprietary stuff, that's all I'm saying.
tuxchick

Jan 27, 2007
1:32 PM EDT
> Given the focus on bug #1 within the community, and the obsession with beating Microsoft rather than the availability of free software, I am skeptical that anything he does short of a merger with Microsoft would get a reaction out of most of the community. Red flags go up when we get into all the proprietary stuff, that's all I'm saying.

That's my take on it, too. Lots and lots of verbiage on the wonderfulness of proprietary crud, no talk about libre software.
incinerator

Jan 29, 2007
1:46 AM EDT
bigg: > It would be possible for him to pay nvidia for drivers for the latest video cards. Laughably. Ridiculous. Speculation. Yes, he could do that, but there's no good reason why he should.

>the parts of the CNR service that are not fully open Fair enough, but how is that Mark Shuttleworth's fault? I thought it was Linspire who came up with that and not Ubuntu.

> his position on proprietary drivers and software I've been reading planet ubuntu for months now and, apart from his rather pragmatic view on drivers, I have yet to find a statement that confirms Shuttleworth actually advocates non-free software. If he did, why did he ever start a free software project in the first place, huh? Fair enough, I don't particularly like his position on non-free drivers, either. Otoh, he's not the first one who takes a distro in that direction. Strange enough the outcry is so loud now.

> his desire to see other distributions disappear raise flags in my head Really, where and when did he say that? Quotes, please.

I don't mind you criticising Mark Shuttleworth. However, don't expect others to believe in your statements unless you actually can back them up solidly.
Sander_Marechal

Jan 29, 2007
2:12 AM EDT
Quoting:Otoh, he's not the first one who takes a distro in that direction.


But he's the first person to do so while claiming it is still 100% free software (except for the odd binary driver that is *essential*). 3D drivers are *not* essential for a functional desktop.

That said, the Feisty beta's still don't ship with the drivers and the accelerated-x spec that covers their default installation still hasn't been approved. See https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/accelerated-x

I don't mind Ubuntu shipping non-free non-essential drivers (it would be a waste though). I mind them trying to pass it off as essential and claiming to be a free distro.
richo123

Jan 29, 2007
5:28 AM EDT
incinerator,

Sums up my impression and opinion on this as well.

sander,

According to the discussion on the Ubuntu development list there is a plan being kicked around to allow a simple choice on installation whether you want the proprietary drivers or not.
Sander_Marechal

Jan 29, 2007
5:37 AM EDT
That's what most people commenting on the spec at the Ubuntu Blueprint wiki have said as well.

IMHO it would be even better to do it after the installation. Just install free by default, non-free for the very rare device that doesn't work at all with free drivers (some embedded ATI on laptops IIRC). Activate 3D if the free driver supports it.

Then, add an option somewhere under system >> preferences that allows you to toggle 3D effects on and off. If you toggle it on but your free driver doesn't support it, the driver education package kicks in telling you about the problem with non-free drivers. Below that two buttons:

1) Install closed drivers anyway and activate 3D effects 2) No thanks. I'd like to stay free and 2D

Popping the question at install-time means that people will still have trouble switching back-and-forth later on.
richo123

Jan 29, 2007
6:02 AM EDT
Sander, I would agree with that. One other issue that came up on the list was that for quite some time Ubuntu has installed proprietary wireless network drivers as there has been really no alternative...
Sander_Marechal

Jan 29, 2007
6:38 AM EDT
I'm not really up to the list, but weren't those binary firmware blobs (i.e. a blob that gets uploaded to the hardware) as opposed to kernel modules (that are linked to the kernel)? That's a big difference from the kernel's point of view. The former is just merely some data that's uploaded to a device. The later is a module sitting inside the kernel.
bigg

Jan 29, 2007
6:40 AM EDT
> Laughably. Ridiculous. Speculation. Yes, he could do that, but there's no good reason why he should.

Please define "no good reason". If his goal is market share, that is a very good reason. I don't understand how that is Laughably. Ridiculous. If you have not yet noticed, he wants to install binary drivers *by default* because that is the pragmatic thing to do.

My response: ?.

> don't expect others to believe in your statements unless you actually can back them up solidly.

Here's a good link for you:

http://www.m-w.com/

I'll even throw in a couple freebies.

Main Entry: spec·u·la·tive 1 : involving, based on, or constituting intellectual speculation; also : theoretical rather than demonstrable 2 : marked by questioning curiosity

Thus, when someone writes that something is speculative, it's not a good idea to respond by asking for a rigorous proof. You obviously have a warm love for Mark Shuttleworth. Nonetheless, you offered no reason why what I said can't happen. It would be legal, profitable, and very much acceptable to the "pragmatic" users.

Main Entry: red flag 1 : a warning signal

Now, when I talked about red flags, I didn't mean anything about a physical object. I don't have pictures on my blog or anything like that.

> pragmatic view on drivers

Okay, because he prefaces his actions by calling them pragmatic, that makes them right and good for Linux. Keep in mind the implications of using this term. It means not using proprietary software is impractical. It might also be called short-sighted, lazy, or unwilling to sacrifice. I do use proprietary software. I just don't claim to be holier than those who use only free software. I would never claim that RMS is hurting Linux because he doesn't use Flash.
tuxchick

Jan 29, 2007
7:15 AM EDT
Free software is pragmatic. Giving in to proprietary crud is expedient.
dcparris

Jan 29, 2007
8:24 AM EDT
Thanks for that clarification, TC. I was about to point that out myself. We would not have Free Software if it was not pragmatic. The distinction is important.
richo123

Jan 29, 2007
12:18 PM EDT
sander,

As far as I understand it if you use an atheros based wifi card you need to use the madwifi wireless kernel driver. A component at least of this driver is covered by a proprietary license from Atheros. There are other examples too. Here is a good list of licenses courtesy of Freespire:

http://wiki.freespire.org/index.php/Summary_of_Proprietary_C...
tuxchick

Jan 29, 2007
12:32 PM EDT
The MadWiFi Atheros drivers include a binary kernel blob that supposedly is required to meet FCC rules about preventing users from changing the radio card's frequences. Intel uses a userspace daemon, Ralink and Realtek handle it in firmware. Kerneltrap has given this good coverage:

http://kerneltrap.org/node/6650 http://kerneltrap.org/node/4118

There is a reverse-engineered FOSS thingy to replace the Atheros binary blob, but I don't know if it's ready for prime-time.

BTW, ndiswrapper is not the same as running native Linux wireless drivers. Seems like a lot of folks think it is. ndiswrapper is a nasty kludge to use Windows drivers on a Linux box.
richo123

Jan 29, 2007
12:47 PM EDT
Thanks for the links tc. Your description of the madwifi situation accords with what I have read. My laptop uses that driver.
tuxchick

Jan 29, 2007
1:08 PM EDT
I use the Wistron CM9, which is Atheros 5213, to build nice stout Linux-based wireless access points. Prism chips can also be used in master mode, but Intersil is totally non-supportive of Linux, so fie on 'em. The only reason the Prism54 project exists is the devs are reverse-engineering fiends. :)

The binary kernel blob thingy is troubling, not only because it sounds like a dumb excuse, but because any problems in the blob can panic the kernel. A firmware or userspace flaw just means the device won't work. But at the moment Atheros seems the best option. MadWiFi + Hostapd + WPA2 + wpasupplicant = nice fast secure WLAN.

I've used both Realtek and Ralink-based cards on Linux wireless clients, and they work fine.

richo123

Jan 29, 2007
1:33 PM EDT
> The binary kernel blob thingy is troubling, not only because it sounds like a dumb excuse, but because any problems in the blob can panic the kernel.

Tell me about it. I have a nasty complete freeze every 2-3 weeks.

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