[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:
>> http://hplipopensource.com/hplip-web/supported_devices/laserjet.html
>> 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
> wasteful.

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
machines too.

>> 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
the future.

> 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.

With regards,
Paul van der Vlis.

Paul van der Vlis Linux systeembeheer, Groningen

More information about the Fsf-collab-discuss mailing list