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Re: [gNewSense-users] Company selling computers preinstalled with gNewSe

From: Sam Geeraerts
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Company selling computers preinstalled with gNewSense
Date: Thu, 08 May 2008 18:12:38 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla-Thunderbird (X11/20080420)

Karl Goetz wrote:
On Tue, 2008-05-06 at 12:24 -0400, John Sullivan wrote:
I've been working with this company to get this free-software-only-systems area
of their site set up. You can buy laptops, desktops and servers preinstalled
with gNewSense. They are also donating a portion of each sale to the FSF.

Do you know if they replace non functional hardware with hardware that
works with free software, or if you'll wind up with bigs (eg
sound/modem) that dont work?

I sent them an e-mail asking about how the hardware and free software fit together. This was their answer:

> Sam,
> On Tue, May 06, 2008 at 01:33:35PM -0600, Sam Geeraerts via RT wrote:
>> I would like to ask you a few questions about your products:
>> 1. Are the systems really 100% Free, including BIOS and firmware?
> gNewSense removes non-free firmware from the operating system and
> kernel in case that is what you are talking about, but at this time,
> none of our systems have free BIOS.  The operating system itself
> consists of 100% free software.
> We expect to release a file server that uses free BIOS and 100% free
> software later this month.
>> 2. Are the systems fully functional with 100% Free software?
> The best we have at this time with regard to laptops is any ThinkPad
> with an Intel video card and an add-on (pcmcia) wireless card and
> hardware modem (if a phone modem is desired).  Unfortunately, at
> this time we do not have any Lenovo-blessed internal wireless cards
> that do not require non-free firmware and that are compatible with
> the latest available ThinkPads.
> With regard to desktops, we offer systems with onboard Intel video
> cards that are 100% functional with free software (except for the
> BIOS).  We will release many new options over the next two weeks in
> order to have a higher percentage of systems with onboard Intel
> video and gigabit network cards that do not require non-free
> firmware.
>> I currently have a laptop and several desktop machines that are
>> still powerful enough for my needs. However, my exclusive use of
>> Free software inhibits me from making full use of those systems,
>> because features like 3D support, modem, card reader and wireless
>> network don't work. I don't really need those features, but if I
>> buy a new computer now, I only want to spend money on (read:
>> support) features that fully work with Free software.
> We do have desktop systems with 100% free software compatible
> hardware, but there are currently issues (mentioned above) in the
> laptops we sell.  We do help (e.g. by providing add-on cards) users
> get full laptop functionality with 100% free software.
>> 3. Do you ship to Europe?
> Yes, but duties and taxes are often high and are paid by the
> customer.
>> If the answer to the first two questions is yes, then I suggest
>> you make yourself heard on this wiki page:
>> I've been waiting for
>> such a thing for a while now and I'll probably not buy a new
>> machine until it exists. New hardware only serves to creep in DRM
>> anyway (e.g. HDCP, Blu-ray, etc.).
> Thanks, we will keep that in mind as the laptop compatibility
> improves.  The lack of a built-in wireless card is the biggest
> problem at this time in our opinion.
>> Anyway, keep up the good work. I hope you can make more people
>> move to Free software and that more stores will follow your
>> example.
> Thanks for your e-mail and for your interest in our systems.
> Regards,

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