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Re: federated free software movement

From: Arthur Torrey
Subject: Re: federated free software movement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2021 20:10:20 -0500 (EST)

A couple of points - 

1. The original proposal was for an effort, presumably SEPARATE from 
LibrePlanet to make alliances IN THOSE AREAS WHERE OUR INTERESTS ALIGN with 
folks such as the OSHWA, and other open source hardware advocates, and the 
Right to Repair folks.  I believe there is a good bit of overlap since it is 
easier to write software for open hardware, and there is potential to use Free 
Software tools to repair hardware, etc...  I did not see anything in the 
original proposal to suggest that THIS LIST should endorse non-Free hardware / 
software, nor did I intend it in my posts on the subject.  I do believe that 
any effort to make alliances with other communities needs to be tolerant of the 
needs and practices of those communities.  The reality is that these 
communities use or do things with hardware that needs binary blobs or 
proprietary software.  We are not going to make many friends if we come at them 
with an attitude that they are going to Software Hell for doing so...

2. Reality check - A lot of people build Open Source Hardware around the Raspi 
and similar boards that need binary blobs....  From their standpoint it's a 
good choice to do so, as it's a low cost, readily available board with plenty 
of documentation and support.  Is it better to approach them with a demand that 
they start over with a different board that is blob free but offers no other 
benefits, or to thank them for making a project that is mostly free by our 
standards and suggest that they MIGHT want to look at a freer alternative for 
their next project, or even ask them how you can help open some other device to 
whatever degree is possible...

3. Reality check - You have a repair shop - customers come to you with hardware 
that needs fixing and needs proprietary tools to do so.  Which benefits your 
business more - gritting your teeth and using the tools, or telling the 
customers they made a bad choice in hardware and sending them away???

4. Personal reality - I mentioned earlier that I need a proprietary closed 
software program that only runs on a proprietary OS in order to adjust the 
programming on my power chair...  I got a comment back that I should figure out 
how to do it w/ Free Software....  So let me see, I have a proprietary 
undocumented piece of hardware that I need to totally reverse engineer from the 
hardware communications protocol to it's internal data structures, along w/ how 
to read and write to it (as a non-programmer) OR use an existing set of 
non-free tools that already does what I need?  (and there is *NO* commercially 
available Free Software compatible wheelchair control hardware, I'm using what 
is arguably the most open of the available systems)  Tough decision....(NOT!)   
If I wasn't already a Free Software supporter, where do you think I might have 
told the person telling me to figure out how to use free software to stick his 


Arthur Torrey - <>

> On 11/16/2021 2:24 AM Yuchen Pei <> wrote:
> Jean Louis <> writes:
> >
> > But you can't expect from LibrePlanet to endorse proprietary 
> > software
> > in order to "win friends" as it contradiction to the purposes of
> > LibrePlanet.
> +1.  Such compromise does not help the free software movement, and 
> I am all for a combined effort if it does not require compromise 
> like this.
> -- 
> Best,
> Yuchen
> PGP Key: 47F9 D050 1E11 8879 9040  4941 2126 7E93 EF86 DFD0
>            <>

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