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1 • Open or closed? (by DaveW on 2019-08-19 00:36:44 GMT from United States) |
My computer has an Intel Sandy Bridge CPU and uses the onboard GPU. The OS is Linux Mint 18.3 with the default kernel. How do I know whether the firmware and drivers are open or closed source?
2 • FOSS vs closed source drivers & firmware (by TuxRaider on 2019-08-19 00:49:34 GMT from United States)
i always prefer to use Free Open Source drivers & firmware, and will only use closed source drivers & firmware as a last resort to avoid tossing good computer hardware out,
3 • Open or closed (by Jesse on 2019-08-19 01:37:12 GMT from Canada)
@1: "How do I know whether the firmware and drivers are open or closed source?"
There are a few ways you can check this. The Mint Additional Drivers tool, in your case, will probably tell you if the drivers you are using are open or third-party/closed. There is a more precise method for checking drivers and firmware that I can cover in a future issue if people are interested?
4 • Open or closed? (by DaveW on 2019-08-19 02:21:50 GMT from United States)
@3 Jesse "There is a more precise method for checking drivers and firmware that I can cover in a future issue if people are interested?"
5 • Open or Closed (by Ken on 2019-08-19 02:48:31 GMT from United States)
I had to vote for "Mix", because I have two computers. One is a Libreboot x200 with Parabola GNU/Linux that runs entirely free software from the boot firmware to the software I install. Because it's my work computer, I want it to be as secure as possible, so I chose an FSF-approved distro and a computer that uses Libreboot to ensure this.
On my desktop though, I went for practicality. The mobo isn't Libreboot-compatible. I use Manjaro GNU/Linux for the same up-to-date software, but because I use it for gaming, I use the NVIDIA proprietary drivers and the regular linux kernel instead of linux-libre.
Ideally, I'd be able to completely free my desktop, but as that's not possible, nor practical for its use, I use what I can.
6 • Call me a pragmatist (by bigbenaugust on 2019-08-19 02:49:42 GMT from United States)
I use whatever firmware is required to make the wireless work on my laptops, just so they work. But I'll use the nouveau driver over the Nvidia proprietary driver because it works well enough and requires far less shinanegans to function.
7 • Both open and close (by Roy on 2019-08-19 03:36:42 GMT from United States)
I haven't had to use the NVIDIA driver with Feren but glad the Intel Microcode was there. My Unified Extensible Firmware Interface seems to work better with it.
8 • Confused by Need of Educational Distros (by jridgers on 2019-08-19 03:53:38 GMT from United States)
It appears that AcademiX GNU/Linux makes this a distro "designed for use in education" by the inclusion of the EDU package manager. If the EDU package manager was available as a downloadable software repository, could it not be added to any (compatible) distro and therefore make said distro a distro for educational purposes? I don't understand what educational distros are and what they bring to the distribution smorgasbord.
9 • FOSS vs closed source drivers (by Sanjay Prasad (Kolkata India) on 2019-08-19 06:41:33 GMT from India)
I have some issue with Printer Driver, Using EPSON L220 but I have to use EPSON L210 driver to take Print Out, I always prefer to use Free Open Source drivers & firmware and will try Closed Source if I don't have any Option ...
10 • Closed source firmware (by Daylight Linux on 2019-08-19 06:54:17 GMT from Switzerland)
I use closed source and open source firmware. If it was possible I will use only open source firmware and a 100% linux free OS.
11 • Open Source drivers against obsolescence (by Ed on 2019-08-19 07:20:53 GMT from South Africa)
Hardware is often supported by the manufacturer less than two years after coming to the market. With open drivers there is a better chance that you can use your hardware longer when you other software evolves over time.
Not quite to the point: with LineageOS I have the latest Android version on my old Galaxy S5 phone
12 • Open source, or...? (by OstroL on 2019-08-19 08:51:36 GMT from Poland)
Well, as I can't buy an open-source computer, I am not that interested, whether the drivers or apps are strictly open source. Just like some people stress -- I too did that a decade or so ago -- that all software should be open source, I stopped thinking that way a long ago. The developer has the right to give away the source, if s/he wants or needs, but otherwise, s/he can close it. As far as the app is useful, I don't care. If the useful has to be paid for, and if I can afford it, I'd pay.
I pay for bread, water, electricity etc, so I have to pay for someone's effort, if one demands it. Of course, one can not use such closed source apps, if one is so "closed" on thinking of payments and rights of other people. But then, s/he should buy a open source computer to use those open-source-only apps in it. And, create one'sown electricity to run it. (Sun rays, wind etc are free, but the rights to the devices that create the electricity are owned by others.)
13 • educccational OSs (by Dave Postles on 2019-08-19 09:07:46 GMT from United Kingdom)
Personally, I'm always interested in educationally-focused OSs. The problem is that some are evanescent (e.g. Uberstudent - which was very good, IMHO) as they are not supported by educational authorities. Those which persist have been produced by educational authorities (particularly in Spain). There are, of course, levels of educational interest: Most are directed towards early years learning. Others are very specialized (OSGeo). Some are intended really for deployment as networked systems (really Springdale). It might (or not) be useful to have a comparison of the available educationally-focused distros - with details of their deployment and support (which the review initiates). Just a thought.
14 • Closed source (by Richardv2 on 2019-08-19 10:26:34 GMT from Australia)
I've taken to improving on the Stallman model, not only do I not use any closed source software/firmware, but I now only eat open source food, or in other words, open recipe meals.
No longer will mcdonalds and kfc taint me with their closed recipes. Does anyone else want to join my foundation? The Free Open Recipe Meals foundation or FORM as I call it.
15 • @10 (by Kim on 2019-08-19 10:29:12 GMT from Austria)
"A 100% linux free OS." Would that be Windows?
16 • Closed/Open Source (by kc1di on 2019-08-19 10:35:06 GMT from United States)
I use what ever it takes to get the hardware working. Sometimes there is no choice. But the choices are getting better. It will all depend on the hardware on this machine it's open source :)
17 • open vs proprietary software (by Jim on 2019-08-19 10:35:34 GMT from United States)
First, if the OS installs it, that is what I use. Second, if the OS does not install it I use what the OS offers, (example, Broadcom wireless driver on Debian). Third, if neither of the first two, I use what I can find, and what works.
18 • Open & Closed (by César on 2019-08-19 11:02:38 GMT from Chile)
I use both, my HP all in one works only when i turn it ON, recognize and Voilá!, but the laser Brother needs the driver propietary (sometimes doesn't work...pfff...).
Saludos desde Santiago de Chile.
19 • Firmware (by cykodrone on 2019-08-19 11:13:56 GMT from Canada)
When I buy hardware, I always try to find Linux compatible (some Mac/BSD compatible hardware will work in Linux). Some hardware, like a cheapo wifi card, actually works better WITHOUT its firmware installed, newer kernels (2.6 and up) handle it just fine. Whatever works best, FOSS, proprietary, or none, that is my rule. If the hardware box says it's Android compatible, research what Linux kernel version is used in that Android version, you should be good. Just my 2% of a dollah. :)
20 • Poll (by dragonmouth on 2019-08-19 11:49:17 GMT from United States)
I don't let open/closed ideology get in the way. I use whatever makes my hardware work.
21 • I’m using whatever works (by SuperOscar on 2019-08-19 11:53:50 GMT from Finland)
I don’t think it’s entirely fair to question whether one should use open or closed device drivers and firmware. Of course given a choice I would choose free software if possible, but if I have a computer that I need to get working I may not have that choice.
22 • Poll (by Carlos Felipe on 2019-08-19 12:05:01 GMT from Brazil)
I use whatever makes my hardware work. I have intel atom bay trail and my sound doesn't work
23 • @15, It was but not now. (by Garon on 2019-08-19 12:45:40 GMT from United States)
Now we have the Linux subsystem in Windows 10. MS trying to drag people into their ecosystem. I use a mixture of open and closed firmware, drivers and such. @11, just because something is opensource doesn't mean you shouldn't pay for it. Money really has nothing to do with it. We're talking about the freedom to audit or not.
24 • Open source (by akoy on 2019-08-19 14:16:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
"We're talking about the freedom to audit or not."
We buy bread, but we can't edit it. We buy a car, still we can't edit it. We bu a laptop, tablet, but we can't edit it. We cannot create our open-source CPU, GPU, rams, roms, monitors, wifi, ethernet chips etc. Aha, open-source software. Those, who actually got rich with that, from developers working in their free time, without pay are those, can make money out of it, the business.
Open source software, without something on which to use it, is just worth the paper its written on. Success came from ideas that made money. Of course, Linus makes money, but from companies that use his "invention" to make more and more profit. It is the money that fuels the open source to make more money for those that fuels it. Except for very few known developers, the rest of the open source creators gets nothing out of it, and later they go away.
25 • Drivers (by CS on 2019-08-19 15:24:44 GMT from United States)
Question: Drivers downloaded from shady google drive links because your wireless adapter doesn't even show up in a mainstream Linux distro even in 2019, does that count as open or closed? Personally I'm firmly in the "give me a system that actually works" camp. When ideology gets in the way of basic needs, throw it out. This open/closed driver debate was tiresome 10 years ago and getting more so with each passing year.
26 • Open/Closed (by Bill S on 2019-08-19 16:06:14 GMT from United States)
I try open whenever a new Mint Mate version comes out, but I always end up using the closed NVIDIA driver because I like a lot of eye candy and Compiz features and the open source just doesn't do what I want or need. But I feel certain open will be adequate any day now.
27 • Open Source vs Closed Source drivers (by JediKnight on 2019-08-19 16:49:01 GMT from United Kingdom)
First and foremost I want maximum performance out of the hardware I've paid for.
If that entails closed source drivers or software then, so be it.
My laptop has an Nvidia GPU which just doesn't play well with Nouveau. Plus I want all the non-free codecs etc.
I'm looking for utility, not purity. And as Jesse has said that may carry risks in terms of vulnerability.
Having said that I am deeply grateful to the Linux developer community for an OS and free software of astounding quality.
28 • Firmware/driver update (by cykodrome on 2019-08-19 16:49:32 GMT from Canada)
I am an AMD guy (cpu and gpu, Intel broke my trust way back, but that is for another forum), but am not sure if the cpu firmware (definitely makes the cpu run better) is proprietary or not, I believe it is not. Also, not sure if the gpu firmware (not the driver, the driver has never worked properly) is proprietary or not (not for lack of research), but can't live without it. Can't live without either, actually. Another 2% of a dollah = my 4 cents, cha ching. :)
29 • Concerns regarding non-free firmware (by Tech in San Diego on 2019-08-19 17:14:35 GMT from United States)
Jesse's article was spot on!
After reading the article I reached out to System 76 to see if they use entirely open source, or a combination of both open and closed source. Their response was that they use a combination of both open and closed source on their "Custom ' built for Linux hardware.
They did state that they are working with various hardware companies to close the gap between open and closed software for their hardware and have started an initiative to work with vendors, including NVIDIA and Intel on the Thunderbolt 3 standard, among others.
You can read their post at https://blog.system76.com/ (The announcement is towards the end of the post.)
All the Best!
Tech in San Diego
30 • @ 29 (by OstroL on 2019-08-19 17:40:19 GMT from Poland)
The hardware companies that sell the "custom" built for Linux hardware to System76, also sell the same hardware to those, who install and sell Windows hardware. Clevo would sell you hardware configured any way you like. (https://clevo-computer.com/de/laptop-computer-konfigurator/?p=1)
"They did state that they are working with various hardware companies to close the gap between open and closed software for their hardware and have started an initiative to work with vendors, including NVIDIA and Intel on the Thunderbolt 3 standard, among others."
Well then, System76 would've done some magic!
Anyway,System76 is small US company. Most users in the world have never even heard about it, while NVidia is very well known. And will not listen. TK!
31 • OPEN vs CLOSED (by edcoolio on 2019-08-20 01:09:17 GMT from United States)
The question is somewhat nonsensical.
If you are stuck with hardware that will only run with closed firmware, then you will either use the closed firmware or not use the equipment. That's not really much of a choice, in particular if you do not have money to spend and "you got what you got"".
Truthfully, others here have pointed out the correct way to think about this:
1. Attempt to buy only buy hardware that has open source drivers/firmware.
2. Use the software that performs the best.
3. Use closed source only when necessary, or (see 2 above).
32 • Open vs. Proprietary Drivers (by CaptZapp on 2019-08-20 02:29:08 GMT from United States)
I always prefer open source drivers. Unfortunately, I also prefer to use current generation motherboards and CPUs. So, I always end up having to use some proprietary drivers. My problem is that I haven't been able to find a good resource that will help direct me to motherboards that are FOSS friendly. With my current motherboard, it won't even recognize my SATA devices unless I use a non-free driver. Since its a desktop, I can ignore that the WiFi, Bluetooth and a few other things don't work, but I kinda need SATA. I'm due for another upgrade next summer, maybe I'll have more luck then!
33 • Drivers (by zykoda on 2019-08-20 07:27:50 GMT from United Kingdom)
Proprietary (Nvidia) drivers are currently necessary to run GPU code. PGI (Portland) compilers are in advance of the current GNU gcc collection commonly available in repositories. Stellar performance is thus obtainable at an economic cost. Such promised parallel performance is still a few iterations down the line for stable open source software.
34 • Proprietary apps/drivers, Linux dedicated computers... (by OstroL on 2019-08-20 08:12:21 GMT from Poland)
I am writing from the only Linux dedicated computer that runs Ubuntu, but Windows cannot be installed in it, as with System76 computers. It is interesting that there are 12 devices that can do it. The other interesting fact is that, these devices run two Linux based OSs, completely different to each other. And, that you can have one OS in one device, while the other GNU/Linux distro, Ubuntu on the external monitor or TV, using the same device.
I couldn't afford it for some time, and ow that I've bought it, I am quite happy and waiting for more devices, and more GNU/Linux distros working with it. If the other distro makers, Fedora, OpenSuse, etc don't want to port theirs to it, cant help it. Ubuntu is quite good enough for me.
This feat couldn't be achieved with open source drivers/firmware, for too many cooks...
35 • Open and Closed Drivers (by Chris on 2019-08-20 12:35:33 GMT from United States)
I run Nvidia graphics for games, so I use the Nvidia proprietary drivers. They work the best, in my opinion, for gaming. In fact, I rarely run into any issues with the Nvidia proprietary drivers in about 10 years running Linux. The rest of my hardware runs out of the box on open source drivers, even most of my WIFI adapters and printer, so I use a mix of the two.
36 • 34 • Proprietary apps/drivers, Linux dedicated computers... (by OstroL) (by OstroLx on 2019-08-21 10:42:00 GMT from United Kingdom)
"I am writing from the only Linux dedicated computer that runs Ubuntu, but Windows cannot be installed in it ..."
And that THING is running on MIPS ... :) :) :)
Windows cannot be installed in it or YOU cannot install it? ;)
What's the name of that thing? Could you post some tech data?
37 • @36 Windows cannot be installed (by ox on 2019-08-21 11:18:51 GMT from France)
"Linux dedicated computer" @34 refers to, is probably a -laptop- that have the same "problem" as most phones and tablets: no drivers or "power" to run Windows.
38 • A Linux dedicated computer (by akoy on 2019-08-21 17:08:41 GMT from Poland)
A Linux dedicated computer is computer that runs only Linux operating systems and nothing else. The firmware could be either proprietary or open source, depending on manufacturer. I haven't ever heard of open source firmware, though.
39 • "Linux" dedication (by Angel on 2019-08-21 23:30:47 GMT from Philippines)
There is a container image (beta) of Ubuntu 16.04 available to run in DeX. There are twelve higher-end Samsung Android devices that will run it. As of now, you can't run WIndows on them. The implication is that Android counts as Linux, and thus these are "dedicated" Linux devices.. No mystery.
40 • @ 39 Linux dedicated computers (by Pierre on 2019-08-22 07:33:38 GMT from United Kingdom)
"The implication is that Android counts as Linux, and thus these are "dedicated" Linux devices."
Linux is the kernel, Android is the operating system. In the "normal" Linux distros, Linux is the kernel, GNU is the operating system. Any device that runs any OS that is based on the Linux kernel can be considered as a Linux dedicated device. In all computers, where a GNU/Linux distro can be installed, you can also install another OS, which isn't based on the Linux kernel, and cannot run "Linux" apps.
We, who use the GNU/Linux distros, have them on a computer that's originally never manufactured for GNU/Linux. We sort of find a way to install our GNU/Linux distro on that, not always succeeding on a newer device. Most computer manufacturers don't even want that to happen, even though they don't say it loudly.
So, it is nice to know, there are some devices that also run at least one GNU/Linux distro even in a container. Containers are the hype these days, btw.
41 • @12 Non sense (by Ark on 2019-08-22 09:48:10 GMT from France)
@12 It's pure non sense what you're saying. May the electiricity be owned by a tier, once you have it in your house, it's your circuits as far as it's what you own.You don't have necessarily the need for an open source hardware (which doesn't exist, the driver is open source, not the hardware).
When you buy the hardware, you own it. You can dissassemble it how much you want, and can possibly buff it if you could. The only problem most of the time is that the driver is not open source, So you can't make your hardware work with all the functionnalities it's supposed to have and then adapt the driver to your modification.
The problem is then not the hardware, not the model, not the whole world, it's just that it limits your freedom as a customer by not disclosing how something work for you to be able to make it work your own way.
Now maybe you don't want that, me neither by the way, but I understand it's a freedom we are supposed to have, not something mandatory. Computers holds data about all the things in the real life, valuable informations, secrets, passwords... Being able to anyone to look at what their machine do from end to end should be normal.
42 • @ 41 (by OstroL on 2019-08-22 14:47:34 GMT from Poland)
How do you make open source driver for hardware, if the manufacturer doesn't release you the source? Manufacturing is secret, otherwise the manufacturer would never earn any returns. There'd be enough competitors. If the manufacturer sees any long term profit in it, he'd release the code. They have to keep it close to the chest to survive and succeed. Isn't there all kinds of laws on intellectual rights?
43 • #42 (by xt-at_clone on 2019-08-22 16:15:36 GMT from United Kingdom)
This is where reverse engineering comes in.
44 • reversing (by Marcos Pereira de Sousa on 2019-08-22 16:52:11 GMT from Brazil)
At least the selling of one box is guaranteed.
45 • Drivers (by Kragle Schnitzelbank on 2019-08-23 05:58:38 GMT from United States)
"Manufacturing is secret, otherwise the manufacturer would never earn any returns. … If the manufacturer sees any long term profit in it, he'd release the code."
And yet manufacturers do provide Freed Open-Source drivers - and sell their products thus driven. How else would you move all that over-supply?
46 • @ 45 (by OstroL on 2019-08-23 07:44:10 GMT from Poland)
Please read the line in # 42 -- 'If the manufacturer sees any long term profit in it, he'd release the code.'
47 • inaccurate statements of OstroL from Poland (by Curious George on 2019-08-23 08:48:14 GMT from France)
Statement 1: "I am writing from the only Linux dedicated computer that runs Ubuntu"
Curious George: - Can you, please tell us what is it?
Statement 2: "but Windows cannot be installed in it"
Curious George: - Why is that?
internet search: - System76.com - articles - Windows Drivers
Statement 3: "Windows cannot be installed in it, as with System76 computers"
Curious George: - Really?
internet search: "install Windows on System76"
- Running Windows on System76 by Christine Hall
48 • @47 inaccurate? (by Pierre on 2019-08-23 10:25:12 GMT from United Kingdom)
"I am writing from the only Linux dedicated computer that runs Ubuntu" and "Windows cannot be installed in it, as with System76 computers"
It is clearly said Windows cannot be installed on that Linux dedicated computer and that on System76 computers Windows can be installed. The comma after 'it' stresses that.
Number of Comments: 48
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|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Quirky, a sister project of Puppy Linux, was a Linux distribution built with a custom tool called Woof. The underlying infrastructure, such as boot-up and shut-down scripts, setup tools, hardware detection, desktop management, user interface, speed and general ease-of-use are common across all distributions built with Woof, but a specific build will have a different package selection and further customisation (even totally different binary packages). Quirky was developed by the founder of Puppy Linux and Woof to push the envelope a bit further, to explore some new ideas in the underlying infrastructure -- some of which may be radical or odd, hence the name Quirky.