[Fsf-Debian] few arguments to FSF
Paul van der Vlis
paul at vandervlis.nl
Fri Aug 10 11:15:58 UTC 2012
Op 10-08-12 12:09, Adam Bolte schreef:
> On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 11:23:41AM +0200, Paul van der Vlis wrote:
>> Op 10-08-12 05:04, Dmitry Smirnov schreef:
>> In this case there is enough information, but not everybody will easy
>> find it. I would look here at the "driver plugin" column:
>> And here: http://www.openprinting.org/printers/
>> On both places there is enough information about this printer. But this
>> not always the case!
> There will always be early adopters, and will always be hardware for niche
> markets where no such information is available. I can't see this situation
> going away any time soon, as somebody always has to be the first one to buy
> something and try running/adapting free software.
You are right, even good information will not be 100% complete.
>> What I would advice, when you have a little money: buy another printer,
>> test it, sell this one second hand.
> That's not alway an option. Not everyone lives somewhere where hardware
> replacements are both affordable and readily available. Sometimes you have to
> deal with what you've been given.
>> Yes, but only because you bought wrong hardware ;-)
> I'm not comfortable with the idea that any hardware not supported by free
> software should be thrown out, if it can work with free software 99%+. Sure
> it's not good from a freedom POV and should be avoided wherever possible, but
> in situations where the alternative is to throw it out, it's potentially very
There are many people using Windows or Mac, you don't have to trow it
away. Maybe you can even swap a device with somebody.
> It's also very difficult to be 100% sure of *all* the components in any device
> - particularly when it's not possible to test hardware with a LiveCD or some
> such in advance.
Information would be good. It's nonsense that everyone needs to test.
> Previously I would just build my own desktop machine from
> whatever parts I think would play nice, however laptops and tablets don't give
> you such flexibility. In many cases, there is no way to know which chipset a
> particular laptop will have.
Boot with a liveCD or USB stick, and do "lspci".
> The model names can be identical but use
> different hardware in different countries or for different revisions... no
> hardware database is ever going to fully resolve such issues.
Not all hardware manufacturers are like that.
The opposite would be good possible: somebody can make hardware what
works 100% OK with free drivers/firmware. I think that would be really
good. And we all need to help selling them.
>> For me flash is important. It's the only closed source software I use on
>> my PC.
> You're saying that Flash is important,
Yes, there are many sites I cannot use or understand without flash. The
alternatives are not good enough at the moment, except for Youtube and
some older sites.
And without flash I can only use Youtube for video. I can't e.g. watch
the evening news in my country, you need flash or silverlight for it.
> but some non-free driver that's
> required to use a machine isn't? I can't agree with you there.
There are many good alternatives for such a machine.
But there is no good alternative for flash.
Yes, there is HTML5, but it are the websites who have to implement that.
But don't understand me wrong: I use e.g. non-free firmware for some
>> I think we can get rid of contrib and non-free by moving it to something
>> else. Something we can trust. The same as we have now but not under the
>> name "Debian" anymore.
>> But it's only a little step and not the real solution because then we
>> still need nonfree.org then. But it makes more clear that Debian is
>> about free software.
> If it's just a matter of changing:
> deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian wheezy contrib non-free
> to say:
> deb http://ftp.nonfree.org/debian wheezy contrib non-free
> I don't think it is all that much of an improvement
> - not as long as the Debian project plays any part in it.
It's only a little step, but it's important. E.g. to become FSF free in
> And I do believe that the Debian project
> will need to be doing the right thing by the FSF for endorsement - and not
> just the distribution. There will perhaps need to be that level of trust that
> the distribution will not change its views down the road.
> To take this to the extreme, if Microsoft released a 100% free software
> distribution tomorrow (while still pushing proprietary software for everything
> else), I think the FSF would be reluctant to recommend that distribution also.
You say it: "while still pushing proprietary software..."/
>> The real solution must come from alternatives for things like flash,
>> good information, and hardware what's tested with free drivers.
> There are alternatives. Most probably, these would be a lot better today if
> more people cared about them - and more people would care about them if more
> people actually used them.
You will not become glad to use them, when they do not work.
> But I disagree it's always possible (or at least practical) to buy hardware
> (assuming you are the one doing the buying) that you know for a fact will with
> 100% with free software - not until manufacturers and/or local stores readily
> publicly commit to the cause. In many situations, the best you can do is make
> an educated guess.
I know all about it, I sell computers with Debian pre-installed. And I
buy the hardware for it. And what I say: we need a manufacturer who
would make a "free" line.
Paul van der Vlis.
Paul van der Vlis Linux systeembeheer, Groningen
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