True GNU - Libre Linux & The Future?

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by DasFox, May 11, 2011.

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  1. DasFox

    DasFox Registered Member

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    Well as a Linux geek of 11 years I have certainly had my fair share of distro hopping and playing and even to this day I continue to play with new versions, to check out the toys and see what's the latest rant in town...

    If any part of Linux to you, is a hobby and something you enjoy playing with, besides work and business and you're not distro hopping, then you are really missing out with what is going on out there.

    For starters;

    1. Did you know that Ubuntu now included a new desktop into Natty Narwhal called Unity?

    2. Do you know anything about Libre Linux and why you might consider using it?

    Right now as a member on Wilders, I think one of the biggest concerns we should have in our minds as Linux Geeks on a Security forum, are matters of security as it relates to our distro.

    One of those big concerns is that there is still a great deal of proprietary software and kernel blobs being used in many Linux distros that can pose a security risk to your system at least that is the word around the Libre bar in the Libre part of the world.

    But even so, in the Libre corners of the world, these types of discussions also exist across most distros about the trust in the proprietary software and blobs that you can find now in most common distros, where you can't see the source and know what you are dealing with...

    After 11 years in Linux thinking any and all distros was good enough, better then running Windows, I'm beginning to see a different picture. Why would anyone of us that loves Linux, loves our freedoms and security want to continue going down the road of proprietary uncertainty? The simplest answer to all this is that the open source alternatives are limited in being ability to stack up against their proprietary counterparts and it's really the absolute truth!

    This poses another problem, because you get a company like Adobe who monopolized the corner on the Flash world, it shut out competition and what does that do for us? It slows down the process of bettering technology for the benefit of all!

    Thank goodness HTML5 as an example is around the corner and the world is starting to see a way out from the chains of Flash. Hopefully now as a world we will see the Flash model as an example of what can happen when one company monopolizes a technology, hopefully the world will never sit by idle again and never allow this to happen again!

    Now after you've read all this, don't get me wrong, I still use your common distros, Ubuntu, Mint, Slack, etc... But I do because well I don't have a choice do I if I want a great working Flash alternative that is open-source that I can more readily trust the code sitting on my box do I? Now honestly answer that and the truth is, NO!

    I only used Flash as an example because it is a great example that most people can see, accept and understand, but there are many more like this...

    As a Linux geek, if you are adventurous and into distro hopping around and seeing what the Libre side of the world has to offer then check of the FSF(Free Software Foundation), have a look at the whole site and check out then some REAL 100% free true GNU open source distros...

    http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html

    Have fun distro hopping! :)
     
  2. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Please, 'Over 11 year Linux Geek', help me understand how proprietary software on linux is less secure than open source? Firefox is open source and is issuing security fixes on a regular basis, would you not agree? And I hear once in a while that the linux kernel itself has security issues?

    I think that the problem is with the patent laws, that is what obstructs innovation. Imagine how traffic would look like if Henry Ford had patented the steering wheel and Jacobus Spijker patented brakes!

    Oh, I quote your entire post, because I noticed that you like to polish your posts by editing them.
     
  3. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    I don't see any problem with proprietary software. It's just software. And if it works, then it's good. Example: Nvidia drivers. I don't want open-source 2d stuff, I want 3d stuff, straight from the vendor that designed my card. I paid for the hardware, I want the best software that supports it. Open, close, anything, if it works and does what I need, then mission accomplished.

    Regards,
    Mrk
     
  4. DasFox

    DasFox Registered Member

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    if you really care, then spend some time looking over the FSF and reading over there and contacting them;

    http://www.fsf.org/about/contact/

    Also the Trisquel forum is very active where you can better get your questions answered too..

    http://trisquel.info/en/forum


    You have Linux Systems Expert under your nickname and you're going to tell us as a Linux expert you are not getting the point here?

    Basically in a nuttshell as a expert you should know there is no such thing as perfect software, therefore having proprietary in many instances hinders us in many ways...

    Don't get me wrong either, I want what works best too, but someone with your level of experience should have a better grasp on what this is all about...

    Since you pointed out Nvidia drivers as an example you should also know many of the problems with them Linux users have faced over the years for not being open and allowing a community to come in and improve, same goes for ATI. In situations like this, when the software is freeware to begin with, there's no reason not to open it up to help improve it. If these were a piece of software you paid for I can see a point to keeping them closed but especially with video drivers, there's no excuse not too..

    Drivers in Linux you should know is one of the worst case scenarios for support by vendors that keep their drivers closed and you should really know that and see that too... :)
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  5. mack_guy911

    mack_guy911 Registered Member

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    please make me correct what you asking is how secure is close source is on open source


    but same thing is there as vice versa which people hardly ask like why people use firefox on windows :D

    ans is simple you have to trust how many of us can read source code even if its given to us so many hidden kernel things .......we think we are capable of knowing and getting out of it


    for example if you see Redhat 6 they tighten source codes for centos.....and other distro based on it they can update the patches of security but its pretty impossible to know what going on behind the doors

    http://www.channelregister.co.uk/20..._novell_with_change_to_source_code_packaging/


    i dont mind if skype come with MS backdoor tracking how many people use linux only :D

    or

    MS backport form where we can still use it hehehhe

    as long it work for me and stable

    you are right we are on mercy of closed source vendors but that same when we use MS

    we have to be on mercy of antivirus, firewall .................media player browser........long vendor's list ....etc

    so option is to trust the vendor or leave it :D
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  6. mack_guy911

    mack_guy911 Registered Member

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    agree :thumb:

    At end it depends on you@DasFox what you try to achieve a simple machine for day to day use or convert your home into Mission impossible movie set :D
     
  7. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Well, well, DasFox, I was hoping that 11 years of experience would reflect in an engaging discussion, but the best we get is a few links and some 'you should already know' attitude.
    Come one, DasFox, you are top notch in this forum, tell us about your personal experience with your linux system that excludes any closed software and your system that provides closed software out of the box? How do you experience the grip of companies on your personal life? Was there any risk involved?

    I have read that Intel is more willing to support open software and they provide documentation. I think that when you advocate boycotting closed software that it starts with buying the right hardware. How much choice does that leave you? What is your personal experience, DasFox?

    If you advocate that all fastfood chains are required to fully disclose calorie counts of their menu items, then I fully agree with you!
     
  8. DasFox

    DasFox Registered Member

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    I'm not trying to avoid anything and yes I've been around Linux 11 years and I've learned and seen a lot since then, also as a Windows user for over 20 years, so I'm more then happy to share, but also in honesty if you all really care, you'll also do your own research too, so you can see the truths I'm explaining here are not just fud.

    It can be argued as mack_guy911 points out closed over open, can we trust one more over the other? The simple answer with Open Source is most certainly 100%, why because the code is open and we can examine it.

    I'll take Flash again and video drivers as Mrkvonic pointed out as a small example to help you try and see the problems here when you close the code for the advancement of technology, which I personally do not feel this a complicated issue for anyone to see.

    1. No software is perfect, I hope we can all agree on that, bugs are pretty much to be found in software at various levels.

    2. When you close the code in software like Flash and video drivers, just as one small example and there are problems, then the entire world has to wait on a fix from you, where as if you opened the source there could be a world wide, greater level of support to help advance and improve the software and work out problems. Now, not just with fixing things, but if the code was also open you can now bring in the entire world to help develop and further advance it. So does anyone know how many people develop Flash as an example? Now imagine the entire world of developers that wanted to get involved in Flash too? I don't know about any of you, but when a company only does the work in house, you'll never convince me that if you let the entire world in, they can't accomplish more. That's utter foolishness to think the world contributing on top of it can't.

    3. If you are not aware of it, there are numerous issues people still have to this day with Flash and video drivers on the three most popular operating systems, again this is just a small example pointing out only flash and video drivers, there's a bigger list of more...

    Mrkvonic actually gave the most stereotypical reply you will hear in the world of technology as it relates to open vs closed, I want the best and I use what works.

    Well guess what? What we use isn't always the best, it's all we have, did any of us ever consider that question, because how do we know it's the best where there is no competition to offer us any alternatives? We only assume because they made it, they made the best and this is not true. I've used Nvidia drivers tweaked and hacked by some of the best video gamers out there, that put out a better driver alternative then Nvidia, so I know what he just said is not truth, it's just a stereotypical reply of ignorance because the individual doesn't know any better and is brainwashed by the industry to believe he has the best.

    I want everyone to understand I too use closed and open code just like many people, I also use Windows and OSX besides Linux, but there is one very big difference in me, I have learned about these so called choices over the years to see, you don't really have choices, you are only using what is really available.

    So to sum it up greed like Adobe over their flash, also hinders progress and when companies consider their technology, of what's in their own best interest not the world, because it's not profitable for them to think otherwise, then as people are we all really going to sit back and think this is really the best for the world and advancement of technology?

    Money and the profit margin stand in the way of technology and if anyone thinks otherwise they are living with their head buried in the sand. Technology on many levels of computing unfortunately is based around one simple little fact in this world, if it's not profitable then we don't get it.

    Do you all honestly believe the computers and technology we all use right now is truly the best it can be? Of course it isn't, we are only using what we get because it's profitable to give it to us and that which is not profitable we don't get.

    So in a world that still revolves around money, how do we get past the profit margin as it relates to technology? Well that's where a bit of open source steps in with no motives other than simply wanting to advance technology, pure advancement! :)

    I forgot, there is a Chinese company that makes open sourced hardware.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  9. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    I would say that nvidia and ati should make their proper drivers opensource. they make their money from hardware and not software so i dont see any issue with those companies having opensource drivers.

    There will never be a time when all software is opensource. some people earn a living from software so closed software will always be around.

    the best we can hope for is the linux versions of software being equal to the windows and mac versions.
    the good thing about linux is also the worst thing about it. freedom comes at a price. The hundreds of tools doing the same job makes it a nightmare for a programmer to support them all.
    if a company decides to create a .run file then it will work on most distros. the issue is that one of the major benefits of linux distros isnt used in that case. aka the package management system. all software bar one will be updated with package management. the one piece of software that isnt could make your system vulnerable. its going to be harder if a company creates seperate .rpm .deb etc. also remember linux has less than 5% of the market which makes all the faffing around making it work on at least most of the major distros not really worth it.

    I like linux but I dont see the need for the amount of different package management systems. they all do the same job so I feel some of them should be merged to create a super package management system with the best features.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  10. Baserk

    Baserk Registered Member

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    Did that custom driver actually offer better performace for all programs?
    Sure, I've used custom nVidia drivers that offered 10-15% better FPS (and more) in my games of choice. Hoorah!
    And those same drivers would take a nose dive with other games.
    And they would simply be sucky regarding video playback with certain media players. Or you had to fiddle with numerous media player settings to adjust for the changes in the custom driver.
    Which makes it rather difficult to argue what is actually a better driver in such cases.
    Does it depend solely on your specific usage? Or should you consider it's usage by the masses? (As intended by the original developers).

    On a side note; How come you keep presenting opinions as facts and then seem to seriously blame folks for not agreeing on those factsopinions?
    It's pretty opposite from your usual line of posting.
     
  11. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    If you have the source available to examine, how will that lead more trust when spending a fixed amount of time testing a given binary ?
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  12. DasFox

    DasFox Registered Member

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    Actually since I use to be a very hard pc gamer and built some of my own high-end gaming boxes, the tweaked hacked drivers I used worked better on all games I put them on, when compared to Nvidia, and this is about the observations of around 5-7 years of gaming, not just some random thought...

    Sorry about opinions as facts, if you could point out what you saw, I'll do my best to explain...

    Of course as we all understand it for now, closed source isn't going anywhere and I don't have any problems with that. I only have a problem and if we are profess ourselves to be geeks we should all have a problem when it hinders progress for the betterment of mankind and technology and I have seen on many occasions where this exists today...

    THANKS
     
  13. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    DasFox,

    I think trust comes from communities (that can include users and developers) and the information and knowledge that is shared within the community. Its this knowledge that can be distilled and an opinion of trust generated.
    This is not exclusive to open-source, though open-source generally does seem to more significantly attract communities than closed-source.

    Take an open sourced product, that does not provide any community support, does not listen to any feedback, bug reports, feature suggestions has poor documentation, does not respond to pen testing reports and the source code is horribly written and hard to understand and never accepts user contributed code.
    From a trust perspective this is going to be far worse than a closed-source product that does listen to user feedback (e.g. public bug/feature tracking), is well documented, acts upon reported security, bug and performance issues found.
    Are you saying you would trust with "100%" the first example just because its open source ?

    I think that trust comes from good communities (of which open source encourages better generally than closed source), but not specifically because a product is open source.

    Cheers, Nick :)
     
  14. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    And why does it matter ?
    Its not like flash pretends to be a fully open source product (and a lot of the specification is open/available).
    Also you are making assumptions of profit as the reason, it could be also perfectly reasonable that Adobe licensed patented technology or made a trade agreement with some other entity that has covenant that prevents the source being released fully in any usable fashion.

    Do you realise that the Linux kernel, the biggest open source project in earth most [1] of its current contributions from commercial for profit organisations ?

    Open-source is about freedom of the source code, not about the costs associated with obtaining the software.
    It just happens that if the product is open source, you must supply the source code to that customer (the source does not have to be made publicly available and does not automatically imply redistribution rights).

    Of course there are benefits to open-source even for for-profit organisations (as consumers or developers) that are not tied to the cost of the software (continuity, control, which usually boil down to avoiding vendor lock-in. :)

    Cheers, Nick

    [1]
    http://arstechnica.com/open-source/...13-million-lines-over-5-patches-per-hour.ars?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2011
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