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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] New GNU

From: arthur_torrey
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] New GNU
Date: Mon, 14 May 2012 03:23:43 +0000 (UTC)

I think that a labeling system is needed, for both hardware and software.   
IMHO Software licenses are a good indicator, but it would be nice to have a 
logo or a small set of them that can be put on project websites and other 
appropriate places to say that it is Free Software, works w/ Free Software, or 
whatever other attributes may be desired... (possibly including a "Works w/ 
Proprietary software" label for those users just starting the transition, but 
not quite ready to break totally w/ the proprietary world)

Hardware I think should have a labeling program as well, and I do NOT think the 
current FSF approach is viable because of it's exclusivity...  Simple fact, 
whether we like it or not, is that proprietary software has a bigger market 
share, so it is a heck of a lot more valuable for a computer maker to stamp his 
product "Works w/ Windows" than "Works w/ Free Software".  Much as I prefer 
Free Software, if I were a computer parts maker the choice between the two 
labels is a no-brainer, and the decision would not be kind to the FSF...

Right now I have to read the fine print on the box, and maybe it will have 
"Linux compatible" buried in the package somewhere...  

Perhaps it would be possible to have a non-exclusive "Works w/ Gnu/Linux logo 
that manufacturers can put on their boxes, next to the evil symbols that we 
aren't going to displace - and possibly at least get a bit of extra interest, 
and help to dispel the popular notion that it's hard to find hardware that runs 
on Linux...  

Probably several such logos could be developed -  In rough order of 
desirability - for accessories:
1. Has proprietary Linux Drivers
2. Needs no drivers, or has "binary blob" drivers in the kernel tree
3. Has Free drivers in the kernel tree

For stand alone devices - 
1. Interoperates w/ free software
2. Uses at least some free software (i.e. current Android products) AND 
3. Allows partial replacement of code w/ owner supplied software, but may have 
proprietary bits.
4. "Hacker Friendly" - all code replaceable, no proprietary bits

Obviously a purist would prefer things w/ free drivers that are hacker 
friendly, but not everyone is comfortable with Dr. Stallman's level of purity, 
and I'd like to at least see SOMETHING that would help me when shopping, and 
provide a bit of added pressure to move in the direction of freedom.


Arthur Torrey 

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