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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] [Dev] Misleading information in EOMA68 news

From: Christopher Waid
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] [Dev] Misleading information in EOMA68 news
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:13:06 -0400

On 2016-08-25 10:03 PM, Tiberiu-Cezar Tehnoetic wrote:
On 26.08.2016 02:18, Christopher Waid wrote:
On 2016-08-25 05:59 AM, Tiberiu-Cezar Tehnoetic wrote:
On 25.08.2016 11:42, Christopher Waid wrote:
I'm having a hard time taking you seriously. Wake me when you've
actually contributed something of significance and aren't just trying to
undermine those working on solving these problems. For some of us it
isn't about financial gain. We actually want to see 100% free hardware.

I don't need you to take me seriously. I'm merely stating the facts and
drawing logical conclusions. I could be just a new free software user
with no contribution what so ever.

No. Your selectively quoting with the clear intent to mislead. You are
doing exactly what you propose we're doing. There is a difference
between accidentally misstating something technical and selectively
pulling quotes that make it sound as if I was misleading people.

Freedom is not a technicality, but I've been told this before by people
who do librewashing. Of course you're misleading people. You've been
doing this for several years and you're getting better and better at it.

Also, I'd like to mention that English is not my mother tongue (that is
Romanian) and I don't have the language skills to express my ideas as
well as a native, nor I have or desire to have your manipulation skills
to do brainwashing with gigantic replies. Moreover, I'm not getting paid
for my activism work, so if I'm spending time raising awareness on
freedom issues, I do it sacrificing hours I should be spending to be
able to support myself and in the process serve people hardware
compatible with fully free operating systems.

I never said freedom was a technicality. You're intentionally misunderstanding what I'm saying. Your understanding of English isn't that bad.

If you believe that what I'm doing is undermining your projects, then
you might be do something wrong in your projects. Like claiming your
proprietary BIOS laptops and desktops are OK in regard to software
freedom as your WiFi adapters.

I never made that claim. You are twisting words around as if that is
what I was saying. It was clear from the video and I'd encourage anybody
who believes this to watch it.

I will repeat the arguments and the logic once more. I hate that you're
wasting my time by making me do this over and over again, while instead
you could read again my arguments and logic and see if they make sense.
Okay, here is another attempt to prove that I'm not falsely accusing
you. This time I will break it into small baby steps.

You are quoting ancient text that was pulled from our about page I think from a very very long time ago. The actual about page hasn't included this for years. Yes- it was imperfect and has LONG ago been fixed/improved upon.

Get lost.


"ThinkPenguin, Inc. is currently the only company with a significant
catalog selling free software friendly hardware. From wifi adapters and
printers to desktops and laptops. For more information on free software
friendly hardware check out the Free Software Foundation's Respect Your
Freedom web site at:"

I'm now breaking this paragraph into logical sentences:

S1: ThinkPenguin has a significant catalog of free software friendly

S2: ThinkPenguin's catalog of free software friendly hardware is
significant because it ranges from wifi adapters and printers to
desktops and laptops.

S1 & S2 => S3

S3: The free software friendly hardware at ThinkPenguin ranges from wifi
adapters and printers to desktops and laptops.

S4: So far ThinkPenguin has provided you information on the free
software friendly hardware at ThinkPenguin.

S5: For more information on free software friendly hardware, check out
FSF's RYF web site.

S4 & S5 => S6

S6: ThinkPenguin's free software friendly hardware is the same as the
hardware FSF says it respects your freedom.

S3 & S6 => S7

S7: ThinkPenguin's hardware ranging from wifi adapters and printers to
desktops and laptops respect your freedom.

This is basic logic any visitor reading the paragraph would apply and
reach the same conclusion.

(S)he couldn't find ThinkPenguin's laptops listed as certified on the
FSF's RYF page, but couldn't find listed some of ThinkPenguin's wifi
adapters either. Or some other hardware at ThinkPenguin, like printers,
for instance.

(S)he could think that ThinkPenguin has decided not to submit the
laptops for FSF's RYF certification, the way some of the ThinkPenguin's
wifi adapters haven't been submitted for certification, although all
their wifi adapters are respecting user's freedom. Or (s)he could simply think that ThinkPenguin's laptops are currently under evaluation at FSF.

In any case, (s)he looks for the laptops at ThinkPenguin and find the
two product pages:

(S)he's now looking at the notes below the product pictures and finds
the list of supported operating systems. After reading a list of several common distros which ship nonfree software (Linux Mint 18, Ubuntu 16.04,
Slackware 14.2, Fedora 24, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Debian Testing, Arch),
(s)he finds listed free distros like Parabola and Trisquel. (S)he's
happy (s)he can run a fully free operating system on ThinkPenguin's laptop.

(S)he scraps the product pages of the laptops, then takes a closer look
at the specifications, and finds *no* warning these laptops have *big*
freedom issues such as proprietary BIOS. Happily (s)he orders one and
tells everyone (s)he has a ThinkPenguin laptop which respects her/his
freedom. If (s)he's lucky, a free software activist will tell her different.

If someone thinks only that page at ThinkPenguin throws their wifi
adapters and laptops in the same freedom category without warning about
the proprietary BIOS, (s)he's wrong. Their About page does the same
thing. A lot of pages at FSF about ThinkPenguin do the the same thing,


When FSF approached me for including the Tehnoetic S2 preinstalled with
Replicant in the 2015 Giving Guide, I agreed. When I read the text they
prepared which was entirely positive, I asked them to include the
warning that the modem runs a proprietary system. And the Tehnoetic
devices preinstalled with Replicant have product pages filled with
warnings about the freedom issues. I've also integrated in the text
suggestions from PaulK (Replicant developer) and Tehnoetic customers to
make the warnings more clear.

Below are more attempts of ThinkPenguin to brainwash people.

Like stating that they don't need to provide the PCB design sources
before the campaign ends, even though all this time they have falsely
claimed and fooled a lot of people into backing the campaign on the
premise that their project is "libre hardware right from the beginning",
making a lot of people including the Parabola developers (the free
distro they preinstall on their computer) to fall in the trap and
propagate this big lie. Like saying everything about a computer is
"libre hardware", err... with one exception... the *computer* itself!
Err... "every bit of firmware on our laptops is free software, except
for the BIOS which is... outside". "Libre" computer err... except the
computer. Every bit of firmware is free software, err... except the most
important firmware, the BIOS! But that's... "outside".

And other things. Like claiming a publicly available *not* self-hosting
*free* operating system doesn't have to include the config file (the
allegedly modified u-boot *bootloader* wasn't/isn't included either!) in
the sources for users of that *free* operating system to actually be
able to run that free system on a supported router, not necessarily
bought from ThinkPenguin.

Back and forth from LibreCMC project to ThinkPenguin and Software
Freedom Conservancy, I've been asking for the LibreCMC config file for a
target and free u-boot sources, with no success. Only few ThinkPenguin
customers on Trisquel forum have provided that:

Does for instance Replicant, another *not* self-hosted *free* system not
provide config files for targets along with the source code? Or the
bootloader for any new target that can have a free bootloader? It does
provide, because Replicant is a *true* free system, following the FSDG:

And many, many other lies and manipulations. I've spent again too much
of my time to raise awareness on the freedom issues of ThinkPenguin, so
I'll stop now because it's almost morning and no one pays me for my
activism work except my business Tehnoetic.

Like claiming EOMA68 board is libre
hardware although no one has access to the PCB CAD files under a
free/libre license.

Everything is already available with one exception that was clearly
stated and the reason why. Luke was upfront about everything:

"The only exception to this rule to release everything in advance is the
PCB CAD files for the Computer Card. We’re planning to release the PCB
CAD files for the Computer card once sufficient units are hit that
ensures any third party manufacturing runs will not undermine the
project’s development or stability."

I also already explained that someone has already attempted to undermine the project. The decision to withhold this is temporary, and nobody said
it was beholden on the success of the campaign even, and given that we
have already released everything else our intent is clear.

It's also unusual to release this kind of thing if it is released at all
prior to the shipping of the rewards. It's not even wrong to release
nothing until after the crowd funding campaign is done or the rewards
ship. The fact it is being done prior is in spirit with the philosophy
and a mark of good will toward the community.

Like not guaranteeing EOMA68 campaign backers that
they will receive the PCB CAD files under a free license along with the
EOMA68 product when shipped.

It's already abundantly clear that it's going to be released. We're at
$145,300 of $150,000 as of this moment. That is 97% and there is still
25 hours to go. There is zero chance we won't hit that target and
technically we already surpassed the number needed for us to proceed
because the # we estimated could not be 100% determined until we knew
the ratios of rewards. Given that I don't see any reason Luke won't post
the files soon. If he doesn't though it still won't matter from an
ethical stand point because they will be released well before anybody
gets these devices and it will be within the statements/promises made.
Nobody is breaking a promise here.

Like claiming EOMA68 board is a
breakthrough in the line of software freedom. Like undermining Libreboot
project and spreading FUD about it (that Libreboot is only for old
x86-based laptops).

While it supports a newer ARM laptop or two it's not any better
ethically speaking from a freedom stand point than using free versions
of Uboot. These Chromebooks are actually hostile to users freedom and
I'd highly discourage people from going this route. The older X86
LibreBoot laptops don't depend on proprietary firmwares for the wifi
chips. With the older X86 laptops you can replace the internal wifi
cards with free ones. That's not possible on the newer Chromebooks. This
is just one great example of why EOMA68 matters so much.

LibreBoot's value when you talk about freedom is on older X86 laptops.
This is not FUD, just fact. There may be other features that are
desirable and therefore support of EOMA68 devices makes sense. However
it is not an ethics or freedom issue.

Like not providing config file to build LibreCMC.

You are flat out lying. We ship it with every router on CD.

Like LibreCMC not building at all lately.

This is nonsense. There are better directions for building LibreCMC than
just about any other project and we are frequently complimented on how
easy it is to get working. The Software Freedom Conservancy even used
our routers as an example of how to do GPL compliance properly: If there
are issues building LibreCMC it's not something we did explicitly. It
could be any number of problems.

This is telling:

"If an investigator of average skill in embedded firmware construction
can surmise the proper procedures to build and install a replacement
firmware, the instructions are likely sufficient to meet GPL’s

Given they were able to build an image independent of us and are not the only ones it's reasonable to state you are full of it. We even improved
the directions to make them better in the one area that they indicated
improvement could be made (it was still completely GPL compliant despite

Like corrupting FSF to recommend your proprietary BIOS laptops and

Is anybody here buying this? The FSF is a totally independent
organization that we have zero effective influence over. There is
insignificant amounts going to the FSF relative to the donations and
monies coming from other sources. It might not have been a good idea for them to word this as they did. However I did not have any involvement in
this wording and there is no money being exchanged here.

Here is the disclaimer: 10% of our regular eBay sales go to the FSF.
This amount is donated via proxy and therefore I don't even think the
FSF is aware that said donations are coming from us. I have an associate
member subscription with the FSF. I have purchased a lot of t-shirts
from the FSF over the years. We have sponsored Libre Planet for a number of years. I was once in a bidding war for a GNU stuffed animal and a GNU 30th cup at the GNU 30th b'day party that resulted in less than $600 USD going to the FSF. These were less than $50 and you could buy them before
and after the auction. During the holiday one year we did contribute
some amount from each sale to the FSF during the holiday promotion
guide. So did others I believe.

Now we do contribute to the Trisquel project 25% of the profits from any user purchasing through This is the link
that the FSF uses, many freedom conscious bloggers, Trisquel/FSF
members, and so on. We have also sponsored Ruben's (Trisquel founder)
accommodations or travel in the past when has come to Libre Planet. This
pre-dates Ruben's employment with the FSF.

I think that sums it up. Nothing of significance relative to the million
dollars they have (

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