[conspire] No more GNU HP Minis

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Nov 5 10:32:42 PST 2009

Quoting Ruben Safir (ruben at mrbrklyn.com):

> None of this is going to change until the major dealers make GNU systems
> available for the public in large quanities.  That should be the
> goal...

Why?  Manufacturer preloads have a very strong tendency to suck -- and, for
reasons explained upthread, to conceal problems with buggy and brittle
proprietary drivers that you may not discover until the day you have to
reload Linux and suddenly find out that, e.g., the horrible Broadcom WiFi 
chipset doesn't work any more at all.

That's stupid and ignominious.  You shouldn't want it.[1]

> ...because after spending time in court over Windows EULA refund
> debates, and DMCA trials, and pouring over the anti-trust findings,
> and the seeing results, THIS CHANGE can NOT happen through the courts. 

That's a non-sequitur reason.  You cannot make manufacturer preloads
_cease_ to suck merely by shouting ALL-CAPS, stem-winding rhetoric at
everyone.   It is a fact that cannot be shouted down, Ruben.

Linuxcare, Inc. used to provide a service of testing and certifying
hardware compatibility for particular manufacturer makes / models --
which I imagine consisted of my friend Duncan Mackinnon doing test loads
on sample units in his tablespace that was grandiloquently called
"Linuxcare Labs".  No doubt, Linuxcare got a small fee from the
manufacturer for each such unit.

I could go for something like that -- a Linux compatibility program
attested to by a USPTO-registered certification-mark logo.  That would
be a whole lot more meaningful and useful than manufacturer preloads.

Yes, I'm aware that the public are in general a bunch of shiftless dolts
who use whatever OS, however terrible, is preloaded, and lack the
initiative to do any sort of actual operating system installation.  But 
I don't have to join the madness -- and modern Linux distros with good
installers and live CDs make the process painless and risk-free,
eliminating all the usual excuses.  So, I have no sympathy for people
who demand preloads (let alone particular preloads).  _That's_ the first
problem they need to fix, the one in their heads.

[1] We Scandinavians have a patent on self-destructive obstinate
attitudes, y'know.  (See chapter in Jared Diamond's _Collapse: How
Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed_ on the failure and slow starvation
of the Viking settlement in Greenland through sheer bigoted refusal to
learn from the Inuit tribes they traded with.)  Watch out, or I might
sue for infringement.

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