[linux-audio-user] Re: RME is no more

tim hall tech at glastonburymusic.org.uk
Tue Nov 30 00:20:32 EST 2004

Last Monday 29 November 2004 23:55, Marek Peteraj was like:
> On Mon, 2004-11-29 at 21:57, Fernando Lopez-Lezcano wrote:
> > On Mon, 2004-11-29 at 12:16, Marek Peteraj wrote:
> > > On Mon, 2004-11-29 at 16:59, Jack O'Quin wrote:
> > > > Joe Hartley <jh at brainiac.com> writes:
> > > > > > I think if RME believes releasing the data on their Firewire
> > > > > > audio
> > > > >
> > > > > poses a threat to their competitive edge, they probably have a
> > > > > point.
> > > >
> > > > Right or wrong, it is their business and their choice.
> > > >
> > > > > While I'm a huge fan of OSS, I have to respect when companies like
> > > > > NVidia release binary-only drivers for a device.  I'm just glad
> > > > > that they do, when so many companies will only release for Windoze,
> > > > > or for Windoze and Mac only.  I think NVidia's support, for
> > > > > example, is as good for Linux as it is for any other platform.  Do
> > > > > all bugs get fixed? Nope, and they don't in 99% of OSS projects,
> > > > > either.
> > > >
> > > > I believe in free speech, and this includes the right to remain
> > > > silent.  Insisting that RME release code when they would rather not
> > > > violates *their* freedom.
> > >
> > > Jack, i think it rather violates the freedom of their *customers* to
> > > use the product they've purchased with the OS of their choice.
> >
> > Sorry but you are wrong, the "freedom" of users is not affected by RME's
> > decision to not release information. Users have the freedom to chose
> > what they buy. They are not forced to buy a particular card. If they buy
> > it and they did not know it was not supported under linux (either
> > because they did not do the required homework before buying, or they did
> > the homework and still the card does not work) they should return it and
> > buy something else.

Exactly, consumer choice here is not to continue being their customer. Very 
frustrating, but that's the choice we get. A bit like not voting Republican 
next time, I find it more interesting to think closer to apples and oranges 
on this one.

I've been a vegetarian most of my adult life, so I'll compare proprietary 
software to meat for the purposes of this analogy. If anyone wants to flame 
me for this, I'll have mine chargrilled. Food is an interesting analogy as 
for years manufacturers have had to print their specs (i.e. ingredients) on 
the wrapper, not the whole recipe, just the ingredients and I think there may 
be things that it's legal to leave out in certain circumstances. As a 
carrot-cruncher, it's up to me to read the ingredients and if they're not 
available, as is the case with many non-food products, don't buy it. I love 
hobnobs, but they contain animal fats. How far am I going to get slagging off 
the manufacturer for perpetuating murder? I'm not, they simply wouldn't 
understand the argument, even if some of their products are vegetarian.

Over twenty years this basic policy, started by a small bunch of nutters, has 
resulted in much tighter legislation about what food companies have to 
disclose about their products, meat-free products can now be found in 
high-street shops instead of just specialist stores and people now accept 
that being vegetarian is a healthy thing (more or less). In all this time, I 
haven't once insisted that you stop eating meat or send letters to food 
producers insisting that they comply with vegetarian principles, much as I 
think that would be a good idea. I'm quite happy munching through my bar of 
Green&Black's chocolate, they don't release their recipe either, so I can't 
make my own or send it to you; are they violating my consumer rights?

They're giving me yet another reason not to buy Hershey's. Mmm consumer 
choice, tastes good.

> What if there's nothing else you can buy? Which very much seems to be
> the situation with linux audio (expect egosys) in the next 2 years or so
> when all already supported cards will be discontinued. The future seems
> to be firewire. Presonus, mackie, apogee, maudio, echo, TC, edirol,
> digidesign, motu, terratec, metric halo, egosys, tascam,
> ......................... ;)

Give up chocolate.

On the hardware front, personally I just wish they'd give them away free, 
specs and all, then I could afford one too. And in approximately ten years, 
they will.

> Now let's *guess* who of those companies will provide specs. ;)
> Seems like not even M-Audio will, according to Pieters information. RME,
> long time specs provider, said clear NO.
> Guys, please, don't be naive(no offense intended of course), we're
> pretty much f*cked if we don't do somehting about it. Let's not act like
> a sleeping beauty dreaming of hw manufacturer's openness "one day".

That's another way of saying 'be very afraid'. No thanks, it hasn't worked so 
far. I think it's naive to attack any company from a position of 
powerlessness and think it will change anything. We need to build on our 
successes, we need allies, we need good PR and we need to encourage 
manufacturers to be open with us. You can harrass companies when they break 
the law or some guidelines that they signed up to in the first place.

> > If the user wants __that__ card and nothing else will do, then politely
> > (yes, being polite will get you further than being rude)
> The worst nightmare for every company is unsatisfied customer, the more
> the better chance to achieve *something*.

Rudeness puts people on the defensive and makes them close ranks. It's a 
natural response.

> >  ask the vendor
> > to support it.
> I think i asked politely the first time. I don't think i got a polite
> answer(which isn't necessarily YES in this case ;).
> >  If the vendor still decides to not support it then buy
> > something else and tell the vendor about your decision.
> > "Trashing the company" (ie: the equivalent of throwing a tantrum when
> > you are a little kid to get what you want) will not help, it will just
> > make us linux users look like little kids throwing a tantrum[*], IMHO.
> No i absolutely don't think so. I don't think i ever will. Treating
> companies kindly when they don't offer what they already should 
In your opinion
> is just 
> boosting their egos so that they can show you their finger next time you
> need something. It happens always.
To you? always? Hmm.
> In better cases, they just don't do anything unless they see a few
> hundred people waving their hands saying 'HELLO', which is
> understandable. In any case it's *important* for us to do so.

Just don't forget that we're dealing with human beings, presumably they love 
their children too. Open Source is an option that I'd like all hardware 
manufacturers to take, but if they don't, I'll manage. I've managed without 
owning a car most of my life. My consumer choice. Poor me. ;-)

Boycotting products means you get to wear the hair shirt and they get to swan 
around in a Rolls Royce. Yeah it's unfair, so what? You want money off rich 
people, you shine their shoes.

tim hall

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