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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 16, 2008, Hans de Goede <j w r degoede hhs nl> wrote:

> Basicly the message you are sending is: people please by devices with
> firmware in rom, preferably otp rom, because then certainly there is
> no evil.

You can tell that for sure, but then the barrier that prevents people
from making modifications is not an entirely artificial one, it's not
a privilege that the vendor unethically chooses to keep to itself, to
the detriment of those who paid for the privilege of using an
artificially-restricted device.

> Not being able to ever change the firmware is good,

It's not.  Being Free to change it would undoubtedly be better.

> I should do away with all my PC's and instead switch to an internet
> appliance device, because then I no longer have to worry about whether
> I have any non-free software at all.

Like myself, you may very well be surprised when you find out that the
unmodifiable software in there is actually modifiable, and it may
actually be modified behind your back.

> So the goal of linux-libre is to not distribute non-free software. Do
> you ever buy a PC / laptop?


> If so you're involved in a transaction which almost certainly
> involves the distribution of non-free firmware.

That's true, much to my dismay.

> Worse, not only are you involved in such a transaction, you
> are _paying_ for the system of which the non-free firmware is an
> integral part and thus you are paying for non-free firmware, thereby
> promoting the production of non-free firmware.

That's right.  And I even wrote an article apologizing for having
harmed all fellow computer users doing this and other things.

> Do you ever sell any of you PC hardware (motherboard, latop, printer)
> second hand and / or give it away to friends / family, then you are
> *DISTRIBUTING* non-free firmware.

That is true.  Shame on us.  At least we're not further feeding the
monster when we do this, even though we're inducing more people to
accept the restrictions of firmwares they hadn't accepted before.

> Really, they should put you in prison for that!

We're already in prison.

And some of us are trying really hard to get out of it.

Meanwhile, most of the people tell us that it's pointless, why bother,
we have food, shelter and work here, and it only costs us our freedom.

Some people out there, who claim to care for us, even try to help us
by bringing us mattresses, clothes, blinds and earplugs so that we
don't get to the truth, that we were all born into bondage, in a
prison that we can't smell or taste or touch.  A prison for our minds.

They think they're helping us by making us more comfortable, but in
truth they're just making the prison less intolerable, so that fewer
of us bother to work together to try to win our freedom back.

Some even fight us when we discuss our plans about how to become free
and what we're going to do out here, labeling us as hypocrites with
nonsensical arguments such as, if we're not free, how could we
possibly ask others to help us all escape prison?

Others will even incite fear and doubts as to what's out there to
discourage them from pursuing freedom.

Sorry, I got a bit carried away here.  What was your point, again?

> Putting it simply there are 2 possible stances on non-free firmware:

How about 3?

3) it's evil, it's here and (just like any non-Free Software) we
should all do as much as we can to get rid of it and discourage this
form of aggression, rather than inducing people to get more of it and
further empower the aggressors.

Refraining from distributing the non-Free Software won't stop anyone
from getting to it and using it, if they choose to do so.  But this is
no excuse to help them do so.

But distributing it may legitimize it, make people think it's
acceptable, or even to fool themselves into thinking it respects them,
even to the point of recommending it to others.

And distributing it in a way that doesn't give people even the option
of not installing it could make them seem absolutely necessary, which
is even worse.

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist  oliva {lsd ic unicamp br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva {redhat com, gcc.gnu.org}

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