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How not to recognize free hardware

How not to recognize free hardware

Posted Oct 21, 2010 4:58 UTC (Thu) by jtc (guest, #6246)
Parent article: How not to recognize free hardware

"Let it be said: your editor does not believe that "respect your freedoms" includes hiding information about available options. Free software should be able to win on its own merits; it doesn't require attempts to create ignorance about proprietary alternatives. Viewing users as needing to be "steered" in the right direction does not seem respectful."

Interesting - the implication here (as far as I can tell) is that, in the author's opinion, the FSF's criteria actually make the device less free. Ironic - i.e., in the opinion of some FOSS advocates', FSF's criteria for open hardware results in hardware that is not truly open.

I agree with the main points of the article (essentially that the FSF is going too far in their requirements), but I'd need to think on the above (that the criteria makes the hardware less open) for at least a day - IMO, it's a rather shocking idea.

[Headline: "FSF pushes policies that promote non-free hardware" :-)]


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How not to recognize free hardware

Posted Oct 21, 2010 5:49 UTC (Thu) by sfeam (subscriber, #2841) [Link]

...the implication here (as far as I can tell) is that, in the author's opinion, the FSF's criteria actually make the device less free. Ironic - i.e., in the opinion of some FOSS advocates', FSF's criteria for open hardware results in hardware that is not truly open.

But surely this is not such a surprise. The FSF's criteria for "free" has always included a very strong dose of "free means that you can do with it what we (the FSF) want, not necessarily what you want". To take the usual example, the GPL attaches more restrictions to what you can do with software than, say, BSD licensing; the GPLv3 even more so than the GPL2. So unless one is in lock-step agreement with the FSF that their definition of "free" trumps all others, then I think it is also possible to make the parallel statement that the FSF's criteria for open software results in software that is not truly open. And then there's the GNU documentation license...

How not to recognize free hardware

Posted Oct 21, 2010 7:04 UTC (Thu) by tajyrink (subscriber, #2750) [Link]

I don't think that side thread is something new or fancy to talk about. It's the eternal question of if it's freedom to ban slavery or not. But for the free software users both BSD and GPL are quite equal, it's only in the territory of creating non-free software linking to free software that the difference matters.

GFDL is another matter and has more problems, but even that's not a good comparison to these "negative campaign" kind of things, it's just not very well crafted license regarding the uses that it ended up used at.

How not to recognize free hardware

Posted Oct 21, 2010 17:16 UTC (Thu) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

The tragic part about this is that in their fervor to label only products which comply strictly with all non-technical requirements, such as packaging and marketing, they set such a high barrier to marking that few manufacturers will bother, which leaves relatively average Free Software supporters unable to distinguish completely closed hardware from the hardware that actually supports the technical things that the FSF is trying to require.

The result is that I'll be buying more closed hardware than if they had a less hard-lined stance, or permitted different levels of compliance (with different labels).

How not to recognize free hardware

Posted Oct 22, 2010 20:41 UTC (Fri) by foom (subscriber, #14868) [Link]

> [Headline: "FSF pushes policies that promote non-free hardware" :-)]

Wouldn't be much of a surprise, considering that they've promoted non-free documentation for a long time.


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