[SATLUG] Why Ubuntu is the best distribution for wifi-enabled
Ernest de Leon
dryicezero at gmail.com
Mon Sep 10 12:30:35 CDT 2007
Up until now, I wanted to stay out of it, but it seems like this type of
scenario rears its ugly head all to often in the FOSS world. What one
person views as breaking a law or simply violating a commonly held principle
another may view as 'bending' the law or reinterpreting something. The
bottom line is this: If there is no explicit law forbidding the use or
redistribution of something without prior written consent, then it is not
'illegal' 'unethical' 'immoral' 'not right' or whatever other label you want
to put on it. Part of the reason that Linux has not gained the adoption
that it deserves is the constant bickering among the various distributions'
user bases, developers, project leads, etc. It even goes so far as to
include bickering within a single project's members. To me, this is the
most abhorrent part of it all. The isolationist, elitist,
whatever-you-want-to-call-it-ist crap that flows withing the FOSS world is
what is most detrimental to its very success.
Mark Shuttleworth has done a great thing for linux and the FOSS community at
large. Those who have 'trouble' with what he has done are the same people
that keep Debian back from its full potential. Ubuntu, as a distribution,
was born, has risen, and blown by all other distributions out there. It is
currently the most installed desktop distro on the planet, and it garners
more media attention (at least in my opinion) than all other distributions
combined. The distribution serves all purposes it was designed to serve,
and it does it within a set of parameters that speak volumes about its own
philosophy. The community is both deep and wide. The only way for
detractors to assail the distro is to complain that it is incorporated
somewhere other than the US (forget that that is where the founder lives
right?) or that it "breaks" or "violates" certain things here or there.
The fact of the matter is that it ships with only FOSS components
installed. If you want proprietary drivers or software, you are given the
option to install them and these are clearly marked as such. There is no
If you have a beef with the way Ubuntu operates, then don't use it. Plain
and simple. It's like the old 80/20 rule...80% of your revenue comes from
20% of your clients. That other 80% are more often than not problem clients
and complainers in general. Sprint has learned this lesson finally and is
terminating accounts for these 'problem customers.' While some may decry
it, I say more power to them. It is their company, why deal with the drag
if they are giving you less than 80% of your revenue.
For the average desktop user, Ubuntu is the best distribution out there. If
it wasn't, it wouldn't hold the percentage of the install base that it
does. Unlike M$, there are no 'vendor lock-in' scenarios keeping people
working with Ubuntu. It is simply a better desktop distribution, aimed at
the common user, with a rock solid philosophy that everyone can stand
behind. Any other little knit-pickings from detractors out there are just
that...FUD. I won't even get into the politics behind Debian's Furor
attitude or Red Hat's 'new found love for the community,' because at the
root of it all, politics is what causes these problems.
While I will say that everyone has the right and the responsibility to use
and contribute to any distribution they wish, no one should spout off verbal
diarrhea regarding distros other than the one that they favor. It is both
obnoxious and indicative of a narrow mindset. At the same time, I would
discourage people from chanting about a distro on list like a zealot. That
encourages nothing more than yet another flame war.
Disclaimer: I currently use Debian Etch, Ubuntu FF, CentOS, and FC6.
On 9/10/07, Sean Carolan <scarolan at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > > The reason that Red Hat does not include binary only drivers is that
> > > > is a violation of the license to do so. Red Hat, having morals and
> > > > respect for the law (not to mention deep pockets - ripe for a law
> > > > will not package binary only drivers in clear violation of the law.
> > >
> > > Which U.S. law is being broken by including the madwifi drivers and
> > > kernel modules on the installation disc?
> > The license agreements to many binary only components prohibit
> > redistribution. In this case I am talking about the drivers themselves,
> > not the supporting code.
> You still didn't answer my question - which law is being violated by
> distributing the madwifi drivers? You stated that packaging binary
> only drivers is in "clear violation of the law".
> As far as the nVidia drivers go, this is straight from the nVidia website:
> Why does NVIDIA not provide RPMs anymore?
> Not every Linux distribution uses RPM, and NVIDIA wanted a single
> solution that would work across all Linux distributions. As indicated
> in the NVIDIA Software License, Linux distributions are welcome to
> *repackage and redistribute* the NVIDIA Linux driver in whatever
> package format they wish.
> > Again, it is not legal under the terms of most binary driver licenses to
> > redistribute those drivers.
> Mkay, but with the two specific examples we are discussing the
> licenses *do* allow for redistribution of the binary drivers.
> > Yup - and I hate to do so. BUT - I do it the way that NVidia wants me
> > to, which is to download the driver from their web site and use it on my
> > machine. I don't redistribute it since that's against the terms of
> > their license.
> No, nVidia specifically states that distributions are free to package
> their binary driver along with their other packages. (See above)
> > No argument that it is easy. But at what price?
> What exactly *is* the price you are talking about? I don't see why it
> would be so hard for Red Hat or other Linux vendors to include a
> separate disc with the nVidia and madwifi drivers. You could even put
> a big skull and crossbones on it with a scary warning about the evils
> of proprietary code if you wanted to.
> Canonical is acting fully within the law when they include these
> restricted drivers with their installer. The FUD about them hiding
> from lawsuits by incorporating in South Africa just doesn't hold
> water. Every binary driver that is included with Ubuntu is legal and
> Even Linus Torvalds is not opposed to people including binary kernel
> modules if they choose to do so:
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