Some Thoughts on Proprietary Drivers (and Zealots!)

I was still having occasional problems with Plasma killing my display after my reinstall of Linux Mint 9 KDE, and I began to wonder if in this case the drivers were at fault (see my earlier adventure with proprietary drivers in Ubuntu). Mint tends to install proprietary goodies by default, so I figured that might be the problem again.

After a quick search in the KDE forums, I found that for some, proprietary ATI drivers can be really slow in KDE 4. So I opened up Jockey (System > Hardware Drivers in the KDE menu), expecting to see proprietary drivers being the problem, and found that proprietary drivers weren’t even installed!

Hmm. With open source drivers, glxgears was getting ~400 FPS. I took a chance and installed the ATI proprietary drivers, rebooted… and everything looked and worked just fine! glxgears was hitting more like 900 FPS now.

Remembering the important advice that glxgears is not a benchmark, I poked around and found that the “wobbly windows” effects stopped breaking around the edges (except in Firefox, of course 😛 ), and all the effects in general were working much faster and more smoothly than before.

Linus really knew what he was talking about when he said:

…the Linux philosophy is “laugh in the face of danger”.  Oops. Wrong one. “Do it yourself”. That’s it. [Google Groups]

DIY is a beautiful concept, because what it really means is “try it again, it might work this time — and if it still doesn’t, make it” 😈 . F/OSS is all about individual choice. I use proprietary drivers now — even though I disagree with the philosophy of closed-source software (especially closed-source drivers) — because they work better for me.

F/OSS is full of infighting because of the combination of choice (including using non-free/proprietary software) and pride (because if it wasn’t the best choice out there, I certainly wouldn’t use it!): I think if F/OSS zealots (not the regular folks who work really hard to make F/OSS — just the nuts who force their poorly-spelled views on others) realized that other people are not you and it’s time to get over it, stopped attacking others for not being exactly like you, and told them why you feel the way you do about F/OSS, the conversation would be much improved — and you just may have a convert instead of an enemy who skirts away from you on sight.

Just sayin’.


2 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Proprietary Drivers (and Zealots!)

  1. Pingback: Rethinking Quality « Becoming A Glider

  2. Pingback: 2010 In Review « Becoming A Glider

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