I intended to blog about this when I saw the FFII news last week, but school got in the way. Anyway, Mark having expanded on it a bit gives me another chance. I’m pleased that Ubuntu/Canonical are getting more active on the patent front, announcing that they’ll actively support Nouveau, and helping create a Free Ubuntu. These are good steps, and I’m glad Ubuntu is taking them. In particular, the idea of directly funding European lobbying on the patent issue is a good one (as distasteful as lobbying is), and I think it would be a great way for other participants in the game to make it clear that they’re on the right page. Similarly, the decision to put off proprietary drivers for six months, while not as permanent/strong as I would hope, gives Nouveau and other such driver projects some more breathing room, and puts a slight bit of additional pressure on Nvidia and ATI to think about following Intel’s lead and free all their drivers.
I’m still uncomfortable with a lot of what Canonical/Ubuntu does in this space (apparent sense that gratis is more important than libre, bragging when moving people from libre tools to gratis ones, lack of formal patent policy a la Fedora) but we should all give them huge thanks and due credit for taking this particular important step in the right direction.