Subject: Re: "BLOB"s (Was: The future of NetBSD)
To: Constantine A. Murenin <email@example.com>
From: David Brownlee <abs@NetBSD.org>
Date: 09/12/2006 16:55:43
On Sat, 9 Sep 2006, Constantine A. Murenin wrote:
> Indeed! When something brakes, do you want it to continue to work as
> if nothing has happened and lose your data silently, or do you want it
> to give you some indication that it needs attention?
> * With binary drivers, it's always broken (and if it's not, it's
> guaranteed to be broken in the future), but some people tend to
> [foolishly] think that it's working.
> * With drivers written from proper documentation by developers who
> know their OS, it just works.
> BTW, I'd argue that the same principle applies to the
> manufacturer-supplied drivers for closed-source operating systems like
> Windows -- it's better to have the drivers written by people who know
> the OS it's written under, not by some random people hired by the
> company that produced the hardware (which would never be the same
> people who designed the hardware anyway, because people who design
> hardware don't usually write software for it, and vice-versa).
I'm going to regret this but...
Taken to its logical conclusion, you should also avoid any
piece of hardware with onboard firmware which is not open
sourced... so, thats most SCSI cards, video cards, wireless
cards... don't forget the PC BIOS...
Yes, opensource drivers are preferred to closed source, be
the latter closed source object code that gets linked into
a kernel, or firmware on a device, but sometimes the closed
source allows more devices of that type to get into use
for a given OS, which increases the chance of one getting
into the hands of a developer with the time and skill to
support it properly.
Personally I would pay a reasonable premium to get a device
for which an open source driver exists, but there are
occasions when I have to repurpose existing hardware, or
budget/driver availability means I have to use something
with a closed source driver.
Its very much a second choice, but it is there.
David/absolute -- www.NetBSD.org: No hype required --