Subject: Re: binary-only code is evil
To: NetBSD-current Users's Discussion List <>
From: Chapman Flack <>
List: current-users
Date: 09/30/2006 19:37:07
Greg A. Woods wrote:
> However no binary code should ever be distributed with the source of an
> open-source system such as NetBSD, particularly not one with a primary
> goal of being "extremely portable" (even when a BLOB driver, for
> example, might actually be usable on every platform it's associated
> hardware might ever be successfully attached to, and even when the
> driver might be useful to boot the system -- custom install media can
> easily be created by anyone, but not from the main source tree please).

I'd like to understand better what you intend here. How would you
approach, for example, the Atheros HAL? We understand the vendor's
obligations to the FCC. Wireless is important capability and the ath
radios work well; mine was perhaps the best NetBSD experience I've had
so far in terms of being able to plug something in and have it work without
my first having to figure out why it didn't--and my cheapo ath card is
actually better supported under NetBSD than under windows!

I generally agree philosophically with your dislike of blobs. But as I
get older there are fewer and fewer philosophical positions that I'm
willing to turn into absolutist at-any-cost slogans. Sometimes a slogan's
consequence could be to make NetBSD less capable of doing things that
people generally want computers to do, and that has a cost. How do we
find a balance?