Comments

User comments for the Accelerated X Specification

Comments regarding the Accelerated X Specification are being moved here, in an attempt to separate what needs to go through review/approval, and what can be added into the spec, or can influence the specification in any aspect.

Please note that the only reason why comments have been moved to a separate page is to clean up the specification. *ALL* comments will be reviewed and considered before the specification can be considered Approved.

Comments start here

  • I am concerned whether this spec is worth installing binary drivers. I think we will lose our arguments for free graphic drivers by doing so and also shoot other supporters like Fedora or Suse in the back. A small popup informing the user about non-free drivers means nothing when we give our best to make free drivers obsolete on the other hand. -- Pavel Rojtberg
    • Amen to that. -- Hidde Brugmans
    • I think it should be easy to install binary drivers (clicking a button), but not done by default. IMO this is a bad move, kernel hackers will complain and many others, ubuntu should advocate free software but let the end user decide what to do about it's freedom. This should be reconsidered. Also, this conflicts with ubuntu's policy: "2. Licence Freedom. Ubuntu includes only Free Software applications. You are free to modify or change any aspect of your Ubuntu system."-- kmon
    • I too share Pavel's concerns. PLEASE reconsider the choice to install non-free display drivers by default. They are infamous for their instability, and more importantly, installing non-free software that is not absolutely essential for getting a piece of hardware to work is a dangerous road to walk down -- some might ask why flash and google earth can't then just be installed by default as well. This would also be a major loss for the effort of lobbying ATI/AMD and NVidia to free their drivers. And technical concerns aside, frankly, it feels morally and ethically like a bad and wrong thing to do. Please, consider funding Nouveau development instead. (Update: sorry if this comment sounds too harsh; that was not my intention.) --JonasJ├Şrgensen

    • I wholly agree with the above statements. Please make sure that freedom is default. -- PeterThorin

  • Legal issues with proprietary modules should also be considered with this. Kororaa, for example, after distributing and enabling proprietary drivers by default, switched back to only providing them optionally due to the unclear legal situation of combining a GPL'd kernel with proprietary modules. -- JakobPetsovits

    • I don't believe there are any legal issues with runtime linking the proprietary modules, as Sabayon does (http://www.sabayonlinux.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=258&Itemid=2), so that shouldn't be a concern.

      • So? Just if some minor distribution does it and hasn't been sued by now doesn't mean that it's necessarily legal, and neither does it mean that Ubuntu as the much bigger, more influential distribution won't be sued.
        • No, the problem with Kororaa was that they shipped the binary blobs by default in the kernel. Sabayon, though, runtime links them, so this solves the issue, as they explain, "we do not ship those binary blobs anymore but, during the Live boot, they are runtime linked (I call this: runtime linking) and the final kernel modules (nvidia.ko and fglrx.ko) are generated back". The legal concerns aren't about the drivers themselves, but how they are linked into the kernel. Runtime linking like Sabayon does will solve this issue.
  • Personally, I doubt that enabling these modules by default will have a positive effect on Ubuntu and open source in general in the long term. Even being a mainline distribution, Ubuntu still has not only a commitment, but also a responsibility towards free software. I'd prefer Ubuntu enabling all this eye-candy stuff by default just on free drivers while still educating users, which gives the users an incentive to consider this issue for buying decisions, and keeps (and even strengthens) the incentive for graphics card vendors to provide open sourced drivers. Other distros also manage to enable 3d effects without enabling proprietary drivers by default, why shouldn't Ubuntu be able to do so? -- JakobPetsovits

  • Binary drivers out-of-the-box usage only "fixes" problems in the mid-term, in long-term it would make it even worst:
    • No "motivation speech" for companies opening up their drivers, see example

  • Binary drivers cant ever be fully supported, if the manufacturer decides to stop updating it to be compatible with the newer version of the kernel/xorg/etc.... (yes they can sign an agreement in which compromise to support security updates of an given version, but software in the Gnu/Linux world is always evolving) and the user goes back to the non compatible hardware status in the following releases of Ubuntu, and even with the binary driver education most users will just ignore the warnings until is too late and they are stuck with hardware they thought would be compatible because worked out-of-the-box or they goggled and appeared as "supported". -- jc87
  • Timbobsteve: I think the default installation of binary-drivers is a terrible idea. I understand that people might want an accelerated desktop and it should be supported by Ubuntu (and even possible after rebooting from installation) but I don't think that users who don't use binary-blob drivers should be brushed aside just to make this happen. I don't know much about ubiquity or the installation process, but perhaps another option page could be added to the installer asking the user if they wish to have binary drivers on their system. If they answer yes then the binary packages can be installed, if they say no then they are not installed. That way both parties win. Problems with this idea:
    • Is Xorg.conf generated automatically? If so, can it detect if binary drivers are present and decide to use them?
    • Can the installer detect whether or not to enable Xglx and compiz/beryl depending on the choices made by the user during installation.
    • Can Xglx/compiz/beryl run on open-source drivers? If so, can there be an option after startup to try it.
    • On first boot Xglx could try to start, if it fails then it could default to normal Xorg setup, if it passes then it could start and display a message, like "Do you want to keep this configuration? [Yes/No]"... if they click yes then the system could use Xglx by default. If they select no, or unhappy with the way Xglx runs on their system then the installer could default back to normal Xorg.
    • ColinWatson: I believe this is straightforward to do in Ubiquity, and I intend to do so (there are already some other things that could really do with an "Advanced options" page, and adding this option there would be easy enough). To answer your questions, yes, xorg.conf is generated automatically and that process can be influenced by the installer; and we need a mechanism to fall back automatically from compiz/beryl to metacity anyway, so I hope that part can be done without the need for installer tweaks. I understand that the free ATI driver can support compositing.

  • JustinChudgar: I and several of my clients have secondary (from the spare parts box) video cards in their PCs to support dual monitors. This means that there is a high chance of multiple video devices and drivers on one system. I.e. Intel onboard video + Matrox PCI, ATI onboard + NVidia AGP, etc. While the ideal solution would be to get a new board with dual display output, this is not always financially justifiable immediately. What happens when one VGA device is on the whitelist and one is not? Are xinerama, twinview, etc., going to be part of the conf/postconf process?

  • airlied: http://lwn.net/Articles/162686/ is all that needs to be said really, the slippy slope starts...

  • There's another recent LWN article on exactly that topic, named Resisting the binary blob. Jonathan Corbet, editor of LWN, also pointed me to another article published a while ago, On binary drivers and stable interfaces. Please take your time to take a look at them, both are worth a read and the result of in-depth experience with the open source ecosystem. -- JakobPetsovits

  • To sum it up:
    • Intel drivers are already free, you don't need to do anything about those.
    • ATI proprietary drivers don't support Composite, so no eye-candy for them anyways, only for the free ATI drivers.
    • NVidia proprietary drivers will be able to be replaced by the free Nouveaux drivers in Feisty+1.

    So essentially, this spec sacrifices Ubuntu's good name as a Free Software citizen and hurts the long-time chances on free drivers, just to enable 3D desktops on one more kind of cards (the NVidia ones) for one release. You should really have another thought if this is really worth it. -- JakobPetsovits, one last time

  • I think this is sad. It is also against the Ubuntu philosophy. I don't think it's worth it at all, just for the sake of desktop eye-candy. -- towsonu2003

  • I agree to this idea. Although this may bend the principles of ubuntu and their free software philosophy, it is a necessary step towards bringing ubuntu to the masses. One of the most frequently asked questions in the ubuntu forums are those having to do with setting up the ATI and NVIDIA drivers. By doing so automatically, this would make ubuntu a more user-friendly distro and would appeal to the linux newbies, thus expanding our user base. Even better, it would make the desktop not only faster through accelerated drivers, but it would add in eye candy that people would appreciate, and will help ubuntu rid itself of the widespread "linux is ugly" reputation, which will only spread following the release of Windows Vista and the eyecandy it will bring. I'm all for this idea. However, to satisfy those who refuse to have anything non-free on their desktops, there should be an option in the expert/manual installation mode that allows you to use the free drivers. However, this option to not use the binary drivers should be hidden from the normal installation view, as this would confuse newbies, and they would likely want to have accelerated drivers and eyecandy anyhow.
    • Believing that video binary drivers out of the box are going to be Ubuntu killer feature is wrong, apt IS a killer feature, security IS a killer feature, stability IS a killer feature, freedom to do whatever you want with the software IS a killer feature, etc... eyecandy attracts users to at least try it out, but in the medium/long term it gets boring, also you don't need to show them personally the 3d effects running, videos have the same effect. -- jc87

    • Even if only Intel cards are supported, this is enough for press articles saying "linux is beautiful" to exist. This will become a stronger motivation for ATI and NVIDIA to publish free drivers or open specifications. One year later we will likely have free drivers to use. Isn't this better? Yes, asking question or prompting a text of BinaryDriverEducation is distracting. But this is our philosophy! Doesn't these "closed" vendors deserve distractions to users of their hardware?

  • "this excludes all the newer video boards from ATI, though" -> it excludes only the newest X1300-X1950 range. It should be noticed, that despite various non-clear documentation, the "r300" DRI driver (used by "radeon"/"ati" X.org drivers for newer ATI cards) support both r300 and r400-range cards, meaning essentially 9500 - 9800 and X300 - X800. However, because of a bug in the "ati" driver wrapper, "radeon" may have to be specified explicitly in xorg.conf (see one of the top bugs in xserver-xorg-video-ati). --TimoJyrinki

  • Installing proprietary drivers by default (and if it is "only" for some users) in Ubuntu is bad. And I mean very, very bad. We should not give up our freedom for a short term advantage. Or as Benjamin Franklin said: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." --Rubinstein

  • "I don't think the world is looking for another shrink-wrapped proprietary desktop environment" - Mark Shuttleworth own words in here , binary drivers available for default would turn Ubuntu in that -- jc87 again

  • A poll about this topic has been running on the Ubuntuforums site. As of an hour ago over 1,300 people have voted. Naturally all of the usual caveats regarding surveys and online surveys in particular apply; still, this may give some indication of the community's opinions on this matter. Link: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=297392 -- Kripkenstein

  • I don't see why people should be warned that they should not install nvidia or ati hardware drivers (as part of BinaryDriverEducation), when they are installed by default, and the user doesn't have any choice in the matter. I also do not think giving up the user's freedom is worth it for a few destracting 3D effects. I very much doubt that 3D desktops qualify as "required", I find they get in the way of work. I am all in favour for a way to install such things (drivers, composite manager) after installation, with a simple tick box after the non-freeness is conveyed with some kind of dialogue box. I think this move will cause you to lose the support of some of Ubuntu's long time supporters (I am one, since WartyWarthog).-- BruceCowan

  • If you install Windows, most probably you get a barely working driver installed by default and then you install a better driver from your vendor. Microsoft also doesn't install the driver that doesn't pass its compatibility test or isn't compatible with its licensing terms. Why Ubuntu cannot simply reject those drivers which doesn't conform to its requirement for freedom? I concur that we need to make sure installing 3rd party drivers isn't disastrously difficult, yet it cannot be easier than it should be. -- AlanTam

  • I understand the problem with propietary drivers, but sometimes there is no working alternative. The ATI X1xxx series are not supported by the Free driver. If you have a laptop and want native resolution, you have no other choice. Today, that cards are pretty common, when Feisty arrives, they will be the most widely used. It's good to have free drivers, but only when they work. I don't mean eyecandy, but simply working drivers. If it would be a bad thing for ubuntu not having out-of-the-box 3D eyecandy, being launched months after Vista. It would be worse not to support X at all on a large ammount of systems, and especially on new systems. What I'd do is install free drivers by default on supported systems, install propietary drivers when free drivers won't work, and add a simple way (a preferences setting maybe?) to install propietary drivers. There should be no need to manually edit xorg.conf to change the drivers. -- SRey
  • This is just illegal, doesn't matter how you feel about it or if you think is better for Ubuntu, Linux or the word, "_Closed source Linux Kernel modules are illegal_"http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/ols_2006_keynote.html --Marcel Mourguiart

    • No, according to Eben Morgan of the FSF it's legal. See here: http://news.com.com/Defender+of+the+GPL+-+page+2/2008-1082_3-6028495-2.html?tag=st.num "I would distinguish the blobs from the proprietary drivers in the kernel. If the kernel's terms were unambiguously GPL, which they are apparently not, (proprietary drivers) would be forbidden. The blobs--though they are ethically objectionable to the Free Software Foundation, which believes that users ought to know what's running--are different because they are separate works when executed running in separate computers. From the point of view of the GPL work called the Linux kernel, they're just data."

      • Yes, they are illegal, according to many of the developers who actually write the kernel code. You seem to be either misunderstanding or misrepresenting what Eben Moglen has said (read it again!). There is a significant legal and technical difference between firmware "blobs" which are (from the Linux kernel p.o.v.) merely blocks of data that get uploaded onto a peripheral card, and binary drivers that are linked to the kernel. Firmware blobs are legally independent "works", since they drive the embedded processor(s) on the peripheral card. Once loaded and running, that peripheral provides a single, consistent api to any operating system/driver that sends commands and data to it. On the other hand, kernel mode video drivers (like the nVidia one) are linked directly into kernel internals and run on the host processor. This combination of Linux + driver creates a "derived work" that is subject to the GPL, and since the binary driver does not include source, distribution of this derived work is illegal. It is one thing for end-users to find a binary driver and link it themselves with the kernel -- the result is not re-distributable, but it is arguably legal (since the GPL primarily regulates distribution, not use). However, if Ubuntu chooses to distribute such combinations themselves, they are clearly violating the kernel developers' copyrights. If they decide to make this their standard practice (esp. by linking proprietary drivers by default), they are exposing themselves to lawsuits.--NLP

  • The point is most people need to install those proprietary drivers. The forums poll show most of us would like to be given the option. The fact is after-installation by the user is difficult indeed for non-geeks. Seems the solution is clear: include the drivers and let the user decide, then do the necessary configuration automatically and let the user forget about this issue. Talk to ATI and NVIDIA about eventual legal issues, they have no reason to not collaborate. Then push the open drivers development strongly (Canonical?) and/or put as much pressure as you can on the two companies themselves (Canonical again?), so we can get rid of the closed drivers ASAP. --Sicofante
  • I don't think that most people need these drivers to have a functional desktop. They only need them if they want the "bling" and have nvidia cards or the newest ati cards. Another thing to remember is the bad press we already get - more and more the general linux community knows about this intended shipping of proprietary graphics drivers, and the response is not very good for our reputation (also see the posts on planet fedora and planet opensuse for example). May I also quote some post on Slashdot: "... the binary driver issue and the world's most popular desktop disto's handling of the matter, is crucial. We need to pressure the hardware companies to release drivers, and Ubuntu may soon brutally undermine those efforts." --Rubinstein
  • I do not agree with this spec. Period. Just install the vesa driver where the free driver doesn't work (higer numbered ATI parts for instance) and warn the user upfront (can be a simple zenity script on first login) that their hardware's vendor isn't cooperative with the free software movement. Its these vendors that should be made guilty of the situation, not ubuntu, not the free software movement and certainly not those like me that do not want binary only code on their systems. Thanks for considering. --RuiMatos

  • As it stands, GNU/Linux (much like Mac OS X or Windows) is a platform. What many are saying is that ATI/nVidia/anyone should support our platform based on our rules. Our rules might not suit every company out there. ATI/nVidia could just stop any/all development for our platform and go else where. We need ATI/nVidia more than they need us. If there was a company similar to Dell or Apple that would sell computers preloaded with GNU/Linux, then that company would have more leverage than all of GNU/Linux combined. We are the crying child that wants candy, the parent (ATI/nVidia) will not necesserily give us what we want no matter how hard we cry. --Vyacheslav Goltser
    • These companies which "we need more than they need us" might be in a situation in some years from now where GNU/Linux is a significant platform, say 30%, and a bad press campaign against them could do some harm. It is not the current scenario, but I would be cautious about how bad you play on Free Software. -- JordiMallach

  • Binary drivers should be installed with the following stipulations.
    • 1) There is a choice during installation.

      This is necessary for the reasons described above, dozens of others, and because Ubuntu is about freedom - choice is the ultimate freedom. The added user interaction during the install (a page describing the options, with a selection box for which driver to use) is simply a necessary evil. As of now, 53% of the community supports this idea.

    • 2) There is a bug filed, stipulating that after Ubuntu gains sufficient market share, it will use it's leverage to support free drivers by funding/switching to free drivers or forcing change in the status of the proprietary drivers. A bug is exactly the right place to describe the eventual corrective action necessary because of the current need for including proprietary drivers, because including proprietary drivers is a bug. The details of the corrective action and timeline for it can be laid out there.

      Comment - Can you imagine what would happen if a "regression" like this occurred? Once (if) the drivers are in they are never coming out again. -- Killerkiwi

  • If there is a working (You can at least get a desktop) video driver then a closed source option should NOT be installed by default, and the closed source driver install should require a second process that could be triggered when the user installs compiz/beryl, the extra step being the price you pay for the vendor not supplying enough info for the driver..... Compiz/beryl can then be installed by default for those with open drivers. Every computer user should have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, share, change and improve their software for any purpose, without paying licensing fees. - http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/philosophy

  • It's time for Ubuntu to make bold choices. After reading recent blogs (Mako, Keybuk) about this matter, it appears to me that the only viable way if you want to keep the Ubuntu philosophy and spirit is to reject firmly the temptation to include proprietary drivers by default. You may lose some people but you'll keep those who are the core of the Community. Claude

  • As Ubuntu already installs other proprietary drivers by default, I suppose that this proposal is not that slippery. Ubuntu should, however, default to informing users on the negative technical and philisophical aspects of using proprietary drivers. And, inversly, on the positive benefits of using Libre drivers. We should also be giving users recommendations on hardware that has good Libre drivers. Technically, I think there are other aspects of the X drivers that are just as important as 3D acceleration. Suspend/resume and power usage are more important to me. --AlanPater

    Older Comment: Free/Libre by default please. Sure, make it easy to install the non-free, proprietary drivers for the virtual reality crowd, but not the default for all users. When I think of the users I know and support, 3D is not anywhere the top of the list of wanted features. For laptops, suspend/resume is second only to correct resolution. Low power usage is also up there. --AlanPater

  • You'll gain some kid at cost of Linux advocates. What a nice move. -- RobePisc 2006-11-28 10:34:09

  • I am underwhelmed by the use cases presented for the AcceleratedX specification. If Ubuntu is "Linux for Human Beings", then a more representative selection of human beings should have been considered in the specification use cases: users who seek to liberate themselves from proprietary vendor lock-in likely don't care about desktop bling, and almost certainly won't choose it at the expense of a different kind of vendor lock in (ie: binary drivers). The AcceleratedX specification doesn't provide the bulk of Ubuntu users with anything immediately useful for everyday computing tasks (email, web browsing, document composition). Additionally, what are the plans for supporting binary drivers in the LTS versions of Ubuntu? How will an LTS release of Ubuntu handle it when a proprietary driver is abandoned by the vendor? I oppose the inclusion of binary-only drivers by default. That may mean that AcceleratedX is not a default, but an add-on that a user may elect to install (as is the case with codecs, and many other proprietary bits). --ScottMerrill

  • It is technically possible to always do the "right thing". But what is the "right thing"? It seems clear to me that the salient question is not whether Ubuntu should default to running proprietary drivers where there is a choice between free-libre drivers and proprietary ones but how to ask the user what their preference is.

Not everyone will agree where to draw the line in determining where software freedom should or should not apply. I think software is not only userspace applications but kernel modules/drivers. The fact that some of my hardware does not work with the free driver does not make the binary-only driver any less proprietary. --AndrewZajac (azz)

  • As a user, I don't want proprietary drivers. My experience, having tried them, is that they cause system instability--conflicts with ACPI are a particular issue. Given the choice between faster 3D (which I hardly ever use) and system stability, I'll take stability every time. And that's ignoring the non-pragmatic reasons for preferring free open source software. --Mathew18
  • I would also like to note my objection on including proprietary drivers in Ubuntu. You may read my mail to the community council on my blog.

  • Enabling "bling" is a "common customization" for me and, let's face it, part of pretty much every guide about how to set up Ubuntu. I'm all for Free Software, yes, but I'd also like my hardware to be as fully supported as possible. Once GNU/Linux has greater market share, we'll be able to better support "open-sourcing" other software, but to get there we need to enable people to enable their hardware as much as possible. That's why third-party add-ons like Automatix and Easy Ubuntu have been created, to let people easily enable restricted stuff that's not installed by default, but most often already available in the Ubuntu repositorities. But third-party stuff often causes problems with security and stability, which reflects badly upon Ubuntu. Plus, with other distros shipping these things, people compare that to Ubuntu and rightly expect a leading distro like ours to also include it. On the other hand, we want Ubuntu to be and stay as Free as possible, which one of its most important assets as well. So, what to do? Personally, I'd like to see something like Automatix/EasyUbuntu to become integrated into the system, possibly as part of the System Administration/Control Center. After installation and logging in, it should auto-start and inform the user about which restricted components COULD be added to make their system more fully supported! Since this customization is so common, it should be automatically brought up when the admin logs in for the first time. Each and every time, actually, until a "do not show anymore" choice is made. It should allow installation AND uninstallation of each "restricted" item and include links to more information about why you would want to install or uninstall something. I imagine this similar to Windows 2003 Server's "Server administration" pop-up, this works very well for our competition, something like that would be great for "System customization", too... Then third-party add-ons like Automatix/Easy Ubuntu could still exist for stuff like w32codes or libdvdcss2, but all the other stuff that is installed most of the time by most of the users is more easily available from our own repositories! So, to sum it up, I'd like to see the binary drivers shipped on the CD/DVD, but the Free ones installed by default - but then pop up a "Common Customization" control panel window where the most important customizations (like accelerated drivers) can be (un)installed easily. (No, Gnome-App-Install is not enough, it includes too much other stuff!) -- StefanDanielSchwarz

    • I don't think that there is a contradiction between supporting free software and using the occasional bit of non-free software. The GPL did not oppose aggregation of closed source software and I doubt that free software would be where it is today if RMS had refused to build upon non-free kernels before Linux was availiable (3D doesn't really seem as important as a kernel, but back in the day many computers didn't really have kernels. When I pop a live CD into someones computer I want it to show what Ubuntu is capabile of. I can always disable 3D later). There are open source drivers for some 3D cards so supporting 3D by default still allows the wise to have a fully open source software stack. Currently the inertia has been to not make 3D the default, as this would make some undocumented hardware without open source drivers less reliable, less secure et. al. However buying closed hardware and running it under VESA hasn't got us more open hardware. Instead we have given the message that the major Linux distributions are quite willing to hold back promising open source projects to better support the vendors don't that don't provide good open drivers. As it stands, we have thousands of users asking how to enable 3D. If we make it the default we will instead have thousands of users asking how to disable the broken closed source drivers, and maybe... just maybe... some asking where they can buy hardware from vendors that support open source software. Which question would you rather them ask? -- JohnMccabeDansted

  • My vote goes to "freedom as default, bling as option". Trading long-term value for short-term gain may sometimes be smart, but in this case there are several dangerous pitfalls:
    1. Alienate people who use Ubuntu for the philosophy (getting bling-people in exchange might not be a good trade)
    2. possibly prevent free drivers from ever appearing: the amount of people buying hardware to run free software on is growing, and it will reach critical mass at some point. New Ubuntu users running closed source drivers do not increase the mass. -- JussiKukkonen

  • I understand including nonfree drivers in Ubuntu so long as two conditions hold, 1) no free driver exists and 2) a free driver is in development. If 1) is the case, it should be used. And if 2) is not the case, then it sounds like the free software community is not prepared to support the hardware. Further, I understand making the flashiest distribution possible, in order to grab marketshare. But I don't run Ubuntu for the flashiness (I run OSX for that). I run Ubuntu for the free software, and I can certainly imagine jumping ship to, say, gnewsense if the presence of nonfree software became too pervasive. -- BillSullivan

  • I am very concerned about the long-term ramifications of adding features that rely on non-free software. What happens when $PROPRIETARY_DRIVER_MANUFACTURER decides that maintaining its driver is no longer of importance? How are security audits or patches going to be maintained? What happens if the driver's license is changed to require that the host OS supports the driver's DRM? Proprietary drivers stifle development, pose a security risk, dictate a piece of hardware's lifespan, and complicate troubleshooting bugs. Proprietary software enslaves the user and is contrary to Ubuntu's philosophy. Furthermore, using non-free drivers by default sends the message to video chipset manufacturers that non-free is acceptable. Using non-free drivers also implies that the efforts of those working on free drivers for the same hardware are not appreciated or necessary. Lastly, as Richard Stallman explains in his essay "Free But Shackled - The Java Trap", any piece of software that depends on non-free software forces the user to give up his or her freedom. Ubuntu should not place its users into this predicament, especially when it comes to hardware for which a free driver already exists and functionality which is hardly important. --Jonathon Conte

  • I also would like to stress the "freedom as default, bling as option" argument. Installing non-free software by default where free alternatives exist is not the way to encourage hardware manufacturers to provide specifications to the FOSS community. -- Neil Greenwood
  • The desktop/alternate cd should not come with binary drivers, and the installers should have an option (when non-supported-by-free-drivers hardware is detected) to download the drivers from restricted. Also, I agree and add my voice with the people that thinks that adding non-free drivers is harmfull, against Ubuntu philosophy and quality standards, and not that much necessary to gain users from Vista. every user is important, but we are going to lose Geek-freedom-lovers to gain some bling lovers.
  • This shouldn't be a difficult decision to make, 1,589 Ubuntu users have voted: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=297392. During installation, include a checkbox for binary drivers that is enabled by default, and include a brief write-up explaining the situation. The 15% who don't want the drivers can uncheck the box, the 32% who want the drivers enabled will get what they want, and the majority (53%) who just want a choice will get one. A consensus will never be reached on this issue, so prioritize by majority. I understand the problems associated with proprietary drivers, but people are installing them now, and they will continue to go out of their way to install them every release. Right now on the first page of the General Forums there are 3 threads relating to enabling a 3D desktop. ...one of these threads has 285,000+ views and the other has almost 42,000. Those who question whether eye-candy is important need to understand that people are suckers for bling. ...what do you think Vista is all about? Ubuntu is an amazing distribution, but we have to get people to take a look first. --melaren

    • "Prioritoze by majority" sounds very wrong to me. The majority doesn't bother to read up a lot of articles, opinions and predictions about the issue. The majority votes for what they think is good for them now, and doesn't care about long-time consequences. I'm not saying the majority is stupid or has bad intentions, but letting the majority have the vote on this issue is like having the majority of citizens vote about supporting immigrants. If there is a vote, it should be amongst those who are at least expected to inform themselves in depth about the issue. So if anything, let the Ubuntu developers have a vote, but don't make a decision which is only based on some random users in the forums. Other than that, I believe that the checkbox enabling the binary blobs should be disabled by default, so that the users at least make an informed decision when they enable it. (Which also means explaining background and consequences next to the text box.) -- JakobPetsovits

      • I'd wager that there are far more Ubuntu users that <em>don't<em> use the Ubuntu Forums than do. As such, the unscientific poll on the forums can hardly be considered representative. -- ScottMerrill

  • I think that a better alternative would have been to activate acceleratedX by default if it can be done with FOSS drivers, otherwise have a shortcut on the desktop that reads something like "Activate 3D desktop", which when pressed explains why the 3D desktop is not enabled by default, why closed drivers are bad, invites not to purchase hardware from manufacturers that do not have a friendly attitude, and then if the user wants to proceed, it installs the closed drivers and enables acceleratedX. This would address the issue of pre-installing closed drivers, while moving acceleratedX only 1 click away (for some users). -- Ago
  • The documentation on Feist new features should contain (or link to) a human-readable version of the proposed whitelist of "3d capable" video cards, but discriminating between the Free and non-Free drivers. (This is more a thing to Binary drivers education, btw)
  • Binary-Driver-Education - To tell the hardware manufacturer that binary drivers are fine is horrible education. To give an advantage to binary drivers is just horrible. Ubuntu is getting a strong position and should use it for good, not for evil --TormodVolden

  • I would like to know what is being done to make Ubuntu work with opensource ATI driver and dual-link DVI output, that simply doesn't work. Opensource ATI driver does not support DVI dual-link. I need to use the non-free driver, despite having a 3D-capable supported ATI card (9600XT) that theoretically works with the free driver. Ubuntu should detect DVI output and install the non-free driver accordingly --Tomasz
    • It probably would work with various options, but not automatically. And it should be possible to thus make it work with the planned xorg 7.2 + autoconfig-branch stuff. Please report the problem also at freedesktop.org buzillla also (search the existing bug reports first). I have working DVI output on X800 with the opensource driver.
  • On detection of a video card for which there is a proprietary driver available, the install program should simply request user input. "Your video card has been detected as XXXX. Select 'yes' to install the proprietary driver supplied by the vendor or 'no' to use the open source driver." (Swap 'yes' and 'no' if you prefer. Remember that only idiot software reviewers actually count the number of questions asked during installation.) Furthermore, I would suggest people reserve their moralizing for something truely important like world hunger, global poverty, species extinctions and government corruption. RMS aside, using proprietary software to get your job done is in no way evil. Writing software that depends on close proprietary systems can be a bad choice for developers as they risk being trapped by poor decisions regarding the enclosing environment, which is why I and many developers release code under an open source license. There can be big advantages to open source, but saying it is evil to use proprietary code is simply stupid. Where proprietary become evil is when it limits interoperability. This has to do with file formats and server interfaces, not hardware drivers. -- THK
    • I think that is the way to follow. But defaulting to open source driver (if available). Include a timer of, say 10 seconds, and if there is no user interaction in this time, choose the open source driver. If it's a big problem to include the binary one in the cd-rom, then download it from the repository at installation time (if there isn't internet access during installation, display a warning and tell the user how to change driver after installation.) After installation, include a way to change the driver in System/Administration or Preferences (I'm not sure which is the right one). In the dialog to choose between propietary and FOSS driver, you can include the binary driver education. --SRey
  • I was a little disheartened when I first heard Ubuntu would ship with proprietary drivers by default. I (and I'm sure many others) came to love Ubuntu and open source for the freedom and choice they provide. To hear that that freedom would be sacrificed seems counterintuitive to what Ubuntu stands for. Although the more I think about it, I understand why Mark is really pushing this through. To bring foward a previous post; the ultimate freedom is choice. I firmly believe that to be true. The best solution in my opinion (and many others as it seems) would be to offer the user a choice of installing the proprietary drivers. Afterall, choice is what drove us here in the first place. However the Tech Board agrees to implement this spec, Ubuntu shall continue to be one of my favorite distributions:) All I ask is that the developers be guided by the voice of the community (including the forums). --Jonathan K Mitchell

  • I would like to point out that some of us are not covered by any of the mentioned drivers to have 3D enabled on their cards. In my case, I need to use the mach64 stuff. --stalefries
  • Nicol├▓Chieffo : you want to enable accelerated-x by default (and so the composite manager) for video cards that support 3d for "radeon" opensource driver. I have radeon 9700 (mobility) and also 9000, thery are completely not usable with compiz/beryl they are too slow and choppy. They are still not mature for that. Newer mesa drivers might have done some improvements, but the package version in feisty is still the same as esgy. Try to upgrade them and we will test if the performance is improved

  • Why does the AcceleratedX specification make no mention of Intel video chipsets? There are a greater number of Intel video chipsets in existence than those manufactured by either ATI or NVIDIA. Best of all, Intel has helped with the development of the free (libre) i810 X driver and said driver features hardware-accelerated 3D for every Intel video chipset produced as far back as the i810. Furthermore, the free driver features support for AIGLX. Let's show Intel our appreciation for their commitment to a free driver by making sure that Ubuntu shines when running on a system with Intel video. --Jonathon Conte
  • For me, Feisty is currently in the worst of all worlds. The machine I'm sitting in front of at the moment has a Nvidia TNT2 card (the PSU won't supply enough power to anything more recent) which used to need the legacy driver for accelerated X. Fine, I had the choice (and made the choice to install it in 5.10, 6.06 and 6.10 with a slightly heavy heart). Now, because it won't fully support something I don't want (Compriz), it will no longer install properly: "sudo nvidia-glx-config enable" seems to have no effect at all. So, amazingly, the people behind this have managed to annoy the 'free software' lobby (see above!) and make sure I can't have accelerated X. For the cost of six months wait for a free driver which will support at least some Nvidia cards, this is really, really silly. -- Oh, I can happily support not including some other closed binaries by default: I really like being able to not have Flash by default. --Ian134


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AcceleratedX/Comments (last edited 2008-08-06 16:40:18 by localhost)