[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: federated free software movement

From: Arthur Torrey
Subject: Re: federated free software movement
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2021 22:22:31 -0500 (EST)

We seem to keep going round and round on this one...

The original post on the topic was about a possible 'federated Free software 
movement' to include (among others) Free Software advocates, the right to 
repair folks and the open hardware community.  Each of these groups has their 
own lists, websites, and other methods of communicating within their own 
circles, and sets their own expectations of what is and isn't OK within them....

I would expect any federated activity to be in SEPARATE lists, websites, etc. 
that are NOT part of the 'internal circles' of any of the groups, but are 
rather an intersection of them.

What I am trying to say is that in those separate "federation" cooperative 
groups there needs to be a focus on the shared objective and willingness to 
accept that participants from other circles may not have all the same feelings 
about issues that are only tangentially related...

Think of it as something like the various ecumenical religious associations 
that are intended to allow persons of differing faiths to work together towards 
common goals without fighting about details of doctrine...

I never intended that we should promote non-free software / hardware on this 
Libre-planet list, only that we should be tolerant about it on whatever 
federation structures evolve.

In terms of the power chair, the hardware outside of the electronics is pretty 
universal, in fact there are only a few companies that make much of it.  The 
actual chair 'manufacturers' only really make the frames and a few other bits 
that they then attach outsourced parts to....  So basically you end up with two 
motors (almost always brushed DC gearmotors) for the main drive system, and 
optionally, one or more linear actuators for various seating functions.  The 
electronics typically consist of a pair of high current PWM  motor controllers 
that handle the tank-steer mixing of the drive motors, one or tw input 
module(s), usually just one, and a module to control any lights, actuators and 
other auxiliary functions.  There may also be extra added functions for things 
like Bluetooth input to a computer / phone, environmental controls and so on, 
mostly only seen on very complex chairs for those with extreme disabilities.

All the modules on a given chair must come from the same manufacturer and model 
family.  They will be linked together using proprietary cables, and communicate 
using proprietary protocols, so it is not possible to just reverse engineer one 
of them, you have to do the entire system.  There is also a lot of fail-safe / 
safe-fail engineering required to ensure that everything works properly.  

It is a seriously gnarly problem


Arthur Torrey - <>

> On 11/27/2021 1:28 AM Jean Louis <> wrote:
> * Arthur Torrey <> [2021-11-17 04:12]:
> > 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???
> That is matter of ethical attitude or viewpoint that hardware shop
> owners have.
> You do not appear to have the same ethical viewpoint as me. So people
> are different, but please do not push on this mailing list how people
> shall be opportunistic for money and succumb to proprietary
> software. It is really wrong list for such propaganda.
> There are companies that have ethical viewpoints and sell such
> hardware that does not require proprietary software.
> LibrePlanet is all about free software.
> > 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.... 
> LibrePlanet is all about free software. That you have hardware and
> software that does not give you freedom is already clear.
> How about presenting the power chair and how it looks like, that
> people can see how it can be replaced or made with free software?
> Start a project, ask for help, let us understand what exactly is the
> hardware that you wish to run, so maybe interested parties find way to
> provide similar hardware and software without proprietary chains.
> > 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 GNU?
> 😀 How about you show first that wheelchair on picture and video, that
> we understand features and functions of it.
> -- 
> Jean
> Take action in Free Software Foundation campaigns:
> In support of Richard M. Stallman

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]