[OT] Re: [PD] Piksel'05

Marc Lavallée marc at hacklava.net
Thu Aug 18 16:41:30 CEST 2005

Le 18 Août 2005 06:39, Piotr Majdak a écrit :

> Contra: Hacking free software instead of buying an existing solution is
> polluting due to the energy you waste. Re-using old PC as a server
> (file/mail/firewall...) is ecological. So, again: ???

Users of free software don't have to hack their own; installing a gratis 
Gnu/Linux distribution requires less energy than buying a close OS plus all 
required software, and installing them one by one, clicking OK buttons on 
EULA dialogs. Humans are lazy and opportunistic, and this should be good 
for free software and hardware. Closed resources are not less polluting, I 
believe it's the opposite.

> > Hacking hardware should be a protected right.
> Modifying hardware is allowed, if the designer of the hardware allows to
> do that. Modifying software is allowed as well, only if the designer of
> the software allows to that. E.g. buy a no name PC, change the hard
> disk, and resell it. Get a copy of OOo, change some code lines, resell
> it (under another brand, of course). So, where is the difference? Just
> because modifying software is much easier? (try to hack a monolythic
> integrated chip :-)

We can't open our hard drives and expect to fix them. This is a limitation 
and there's reasons for it. But because some hardware can't be hacked 
doesn't mean we should accept this situation, which is artificially 
transposed to products like graphic cards. NVidia (for example) have no 
good reasons (other than supposedly commercial) to close their drivers.

Like I have no good reason to buy bottled water other than to make ColaCola 
richer and recycle (or throw away) more plastic, because I have perfectly 
good water supplied by the city. Modifying sofware is not always easier 
than modifying a patented plastic gizmo and resell it. It's the patent and 
copyright system that makes it harder...

> I think, there is one difference between software and hardware: the
> software is based on hardware (no software without hardware).

Software can run on different hardware. Software can be expressed as ideas 
only, without being implemented. It's the same with hardware; a design is 
an idea that can be materialized in many ways, or not.

> Thus, is it possible that the line between software and hardware is the 
> border between "modify by customer" and "modify by designer"?

Design is a concept that applies to both hardware and software. "Commerce is 
the trading of something of value between two entities." says Wikipedia. We 
want to use our energy and money in a sustainable way, and closed design is 
less valuable than open design.

> why is it evil to sell the drivers as closed source?

It's not evil, it's just bad. Because software is a technology that can be 
open, it should be sold as open. There's no technological reason to close 
software, and not enough good reasons to close hardware all the time.

We could talk about it for years, and I'm sure we will. ;-)

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