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12.23.06

Ubuntu No Blobs By Default Petition

Posted in Action, Petitions, Ubuntu at 6:03 pm by Shane Coyle

Please, if you are so inclined, add your name to the UbuntuWiki petition.

We the undersigned petition you to reconsider your decision of including binary drivers by default in the next Ubuntu release. We believe, as you do, that it should be as easy as possible for end users to enable extra functionality via closed software when necessary and if they so wish, but only after an explicit acknowledgement and only after being informed about the issues at stake and possible alternatives. Users can be given the option to install closed drivers/software during installation or soon after installation or when an application that may require such software is run for the first time. It is a small change, but one that will avoid dividing the community on an issue that many hold dear, without sacrificing ease of use and product appeal. We therefore encourage you to opt for easy-installation as opposed to pre-installation.

Realize, this is not an anti-bling stance, but rather a pro-GPL one. As I have stated before, I am all for 3-D desktops and wireless access, I use both, but it is an end-user decision to taint the kernel.

Let Feisty install with the open source drivers, then have a customization dialog on first boot (and also some config checkbox somewhere for later) that says there are more powerful, but proprietary, drivers available and the user can click “install now” to download and install (explaining why its not installed by default). Right next to it, put a button that sends an email to the detected hardware vendor complaining about this extra step. Then, vendors will see just how many customers it does affect and act; by Ubuntu doing it for the end user without interaction, there will be no market backlash or incentive to open up.

Maybe by the time Wacky Walloby (or whatever the next next Ubuntu will be) is being prepared, the vendors will have gotten the message and this will be irrelevant, but right now it is not the right move. Ubuntu is getting very popular, this is the time to use that install base to actively petition the hardware vendors to recognize their needs as a market, not cave-in to hardware vendors who are ignoring their customers.

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