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[task #15731] Submission of Davis Remmel

From: Ineiev
Subject: [task #15731] Submission of Davis Remmel
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2020 05:32:19 -0400 (EDT)
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/78.0

Follow-up Comment #2, task #15731 (project administration):

(Davis Remmel replied off-item):

> I think it's disingenuous to say that RCU depends on proprietary
> software. The reMarkable tablet has a free base system (a version of
> Yocto which is linux+busybox+systemd), and the only proprietary bits
> are: (1) wifi blob, (2) touch driver blob (which isn't really
> necessary because there is mainline kernel support), and (3) their
> proprietary notebooking application, called Xochitl.
> I could see how your argument could have merit if RCU was talking
> directly with Xochitl, but it does not. RCU simply changes files on
> the tablet, using all-free software (dropbear is the SSH server on the
> tablet).  The most interaction it has with the proprietary Xochitl
> program is restarting its system service.
> This tablet provides SSH access by-default, and so RCU works entirely
> with a factory-fresh device, using all-free software.
> Directly from the Savannah requirements:
>> It is ok for the program to run on nonfree platforms or nonfree
>> operating systems, and to work with well-known nonfree applications,
>> in addition to working with free software, provided it gives the
>> free software at least as good support as it gives to nonfree
>> counterparts.
> I believe this requirement is completely satisfied.

The problem is: there is no free software that could realistically
replace the nonfree parts on that device.  Using that tablet implies
using proprietary software.  When hosting Android programs,
we require that people make sure that those programs work
on Replicant, a free version of Android.  I suppose, it may be
even impossible to run a similar test for RCU.


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