If someone wants their linux desktop to actually do more than write documents and browse some websites, they need proprietary software. That's why this "it's not toally free" stuff bothers me. If you dont have to pay for it, then it's free.
No! First this is too simple and second that's why it's wrong. We can start flaming here and open another Stallman vs. Torvalds thread. I don't want that, but you should not forget that:
- without a clear definition of freedom in the Gpl, free software would not exist today. In fact we would most likely still be with Minix or more likely with the BSD family. Most important software projects would have been taken by some company, improved to their needs and sold for a lot of money, while they would not put anything back in the project. As it seems, after their deal with Microsoft, Novell would have done that.
- binary drivers are forbidden by law. They taint the kernel. In fact there were issues with Kororaa shipping the Nvidia driver by default. Sabayon is threatened by the same issue. Google for more information...
- OpenSource drivers for graphics chips are important. One example is an ATI card on PPC, an issue I've had with an iBook. Consider the new Playstation 3. If we don't have the sources for the Nvidia chipset, we cannot port the driver to the Cell/PPC64 platform, which means no 3D acceleration there...
- nobody can fix the driver or develop specials as long as it is closed. My Realtek 8169 driver for example had some problems in it, which needed to be fixed in the source. The Nvidia driver has had no support for Aiglx ( in fact they now have their own implementation ), which needed the slower Xgl interface and its problems. Additionally if the company stops support for older chipsets nobody will be able to improve the driver to current needs.
Besides a clear definition and idea of freedom is necessary in any part of life. If you consider money=freedom/free of charge=free, then you definitely don't need democracy or any laws concerning human rights. Just give you a little bit of money and your are free, or give you a car for free.