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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] review PureOS ISO

From: Julie Marchant
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] review PureOS ISO
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2016 18:16:28 -0400

On 06/09/2016 12:37 PM, Zlatan Todoric wrote:
> They are promises for sure but not cheap ones made. It is all work in
> progress and we are gathering great team and discussing a lot of things.
> It is not easy to fight this and we choose our way of doing which
> currently means sacrificing few things in order to grow but our
> foundation doesn't change.

Who said the promises are "cheap"? Certainly not me. I said, and this is
factually correct, that they were and still are promises you cannot
keep. It is *impossible* to make any x86 CPU made after 2013 (including
the ones used by the Purism laptops) respect your freedom, because they
will not run without proprietary programs that are *cryptographically
signed* by the manufacturer of the CPU, and even *Google*, one of the
richest multi-national corporations in the world, could not convince
Intel to cooperate with them. And yet, you promised to deliver a laptop
which respects your freedom with such a CPU anyway. Either Purism is
being run by idiots, or it is being run by scam artists, especially if
you are going to continue to insist that you can make good on this
impossible promise.

Furthermore, what "progress" has Purism made? Let's break down the
current version of that fancy, deceptive progress bar:

* Everything up to and including "Bootloader Freed" is just a
long-winded way of saying "completely libre OS". That was the GNU
project and other projects like Linux, far predating Purism's existence
as a company.

* "FSF Distribution Endorsement" is either a goal for an OS, or a goal
that was achieved by Ututo first. If the former, well, PureOS is not
currently endorsed (although when it was based on Trisquel, you guys
didn't have any problem deceptively mentioning that it's based on
Trisquel and that Trisquel is FSF-endorsed, as if to imply that PureOS
was FSF-endorsed by extension). If the latter, yeah, that was Ututo that
solved the problem of no system being recommendable by the FSF, and that
has nothing to do with Purism.

* "Fuse CPU for Unsigned Binaries": Some technical thing I don't really
understand, but people have commented that this is an extremely easy
thing to do and not particularly significant.

* "Coreboot BIOS Released": Yeah, Coreboot, or rather Shimboot, is
running on PureOS. It was done by Coreboot volunteers; Purism had
nothing to do with the effort.

* "Drive Firmware Freed": Nice Engrish. But it's Think Penguin who
worked with people who were inside Qualcomm Atheros to get essential
wireless firmware liberated, and Intel made their integrated graphics
controllers work without proprietary firmware of their own accord years
ago. Purism did nothing to improve the situation here, which is still
very bad and getting worse.

Of course, all of this ultimately has no bearing on whether or not
PureOS qualifies as a GNU FSDG distro. But Purism's record does justify
being very cautious and thorough in the investigation of it, more so
than e.g. LibertyBSD.

Julie Marchant

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