[Freedombox-discuss] Intel Compute Stick

Petter Reinholdtsen pere at hungry.com
Thu Jan 15 09:26:07 UTC 2015

[Sunil Mohan Adapa]
> I see FreedomBox as not just one hardware platform that everyone must
> buy to get the benefits but also as a distribution (pure blend of
> Debian) that can make use of existing hardware.  A lot of hardware
> that people have already bought or will buy for reasons other than
> FreedomBox will be capable of running FreedomBox.  We will make
> available the benefits of FreedomBox project to a lot wider audience
> if we don't insist they buy the devices we support and instead support
> the devices they already have.

I agree.

> From this point of view, we should support as many devices as
> possible.  Granted that we, as volunteers, don't want to waste our
> time on less ideal options.  However, we should allow people who
> already have some less ideal hardware to track and contribute support
> for that hardware.

While I believe open hardware and being able to work with computers
without non-free firmware is important, I believe then discussion so far
is framed a bit wrong.

To me discussiong which hardware to exclude / not support while we have
so few contributors, is asking the wrong question.  It can only
demotivate potential contributors.  And instead of figuring out how to
demotivate potential contributors (those with the "wrong hardware"), we
should ask ourself how we can motivate more people to contribute.  When
asked which hardware we recommend we should definitely suggest some
hardware without non-free firmware, but most of the time no-one is
asking us about what hardware to buy.  They ask how to get FreedomBox
working on the hardware they already got.  And we should welcome them
and try to get them up to speed developing the software on the
FreedomBox, not scare them away, even if they happen to have one of the
most popular "tinker toys" like the Raspberry Pi.  I added support for
Raspberry Pi to freedom-maker not because I believe it is a great
platform for the FreedomBox, but because I know a lot of potential
contributors have it lying around, just like myself.  It is easiliy
available, and that is more important when we want to make it easy for
people to test our solution and hopefully gain a wish to contribute.

So to me it is clear that we should provide the FreedomBox solution on
as many platforms as possible and never say no to contributions and
contributors. Only when asked which hardware to recommend, we should
focus on the open hardware and non-free firmware issue.  But it isn't
the most important problem to address at the moment in the FreedomBox
project.  I expect that when the software solution is solid, there will
be some free and open hardware available to choose from, and any
decision made today on the topic will be obsolete when we are ready to
pick the hardware platform.

When that is said, I believe it would be a good thing to issue a
statement from the project about how we value hardware platforms where
anyone can tinker with all parts of it and know how all parts of it is
working.  After all, there is no way to trust the software if the
hardware can't be trusted.  But it should make sure every platform is

Happy hacking
Petter Reinholdtsen

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