When you are so worried about the Freedom of software and collaboration, why don’t you start with your own project and do not include proprietary drivers in Ubuntu? While it might be more short term fun for the blink addicted, it is a clear slap in the face for the Free Software community. This is no use for any FOSS project, not for the free driver developers, not for any other distro and (most importantly for you) not for Ubuntu.
- Free driver developers don’t benefit from that move because they will not get that much bug reports from Ubuntu users.
- Other distros / projects don’t benefit from that move because the development of the closed drivers is, well, closed.
- Ubuntu itself risks to loose quite a bit of its momentum when FOSS developers and advocates get pissed off by that move. It’s like if you tricked them to use and advocate Ubuntu because you made a big show about beeing all Free and all that, and then you slap ’em in the face by including binary-only stuff on the install CD.
GNU Classpath is quite a good example that shows why it is important to stand for Freedom. Would Red Hat/Fedora have gone the Sun-Java route in the past and not invested in the GNU Classpath project, we most likely wouldn’t see Sun GPLing Java now.
When one of the most important distros includes binary drivers, then it is much less incentive for ATI and the likes to release their drivers/specs under free terms. OTOH, when such an important distro takes a stand for Freedom, this is much more likely to put pressure on the vendors.
So, please do support the free driver developers and don’t shoot them in the back.
Update: In order to pull a reference to my last post, and because it fits so nicely, let me rephrase Let’s Impeach the President:
Let’s impeach the president for hijacking our religion and using it to get elected. FLIP: Our work on Ubuntu is driven by a philosophy on software freedom that we hope will spread and bring the benefits of software technology to all parts of the globe. FLOP: All of the application software installed by default is Free Software. In addition, we install some hardware drivers that are available only in binary format
Update 2: Planet Ubuntu is now also featuring some articles from Ubuntu developers getting concerned. That makes me hope that Canonical thinks again.