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timestamp: 2006-02-23 16:34:05
title: non-free be gone
tags: freesoftware
id: 34
content: "<p>So, I've been a little slack in keeping just Free software on my computer, but things are happening in such a way that I'm getting rewarded when I do purge myself of non-free junk. For instance, I tried using the non-free Nvidia drivers when I was having trouble with my graphics card (I now know the problem was that you should never mix Nvidia and ATI) and I forgot to switch back to the free drivers when the problem persisted. After a while, I started getting random crashes, and switching back to the Free drivers made everything better. On a similar note, I haven't had a single browser crash since I removed Macromedia Flash Player from my plugins folder.</p> <p>It's great&mdash;stability really improves when you use an all-free system. The lone holdout of non-free software on my machine is <a href='http://gizmoproject.com'>Gizmo</a>. Gizmo is worlds better than Skype, its closest competitor since it's on an open standard (SIP), but I <a href='http://elgg.net/bwerdmuller/weblog/7521.html'>recently discovered</a> that Skype has other problems. Apparently they aren't too shy about arbitrarily crippling their product when it gets them a sweet business deal. I can't stomach the idea of supporting a company that has so little regard for their users.</p> <p>Anyway, I've found <a href='http://www.ekiga.org'>Ekiga</a> to be a promising alternative to Gizmo. (This can be a little confusing since Gizmo is really offering two things: a decent open VoIP service which I've already dropped money into and a crappy closed client program.) Ekiga would allow me to use the account I have with Gizmo without getting stuck with their lousy client. The latest version is especially bad and saps over 90% of my CPU usage when I use it.</p> <p>The point is: go all-free. You'll be surprised how rewarding it is.</p>"