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Re: [gNewSense-users] A user's view

From: al3xu5 / dotcommon
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] A user's view
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2013 19:57:12 +0100

Il giorno domenica 29/12/2013 19:53:20 CET
josh <address@hidden> ha scritto:

> Yes that's excellent, But I don't have the luxury of being able to
> afford to change my previously functioning hardware every time I load a
> new version of my distro.

Excuse me, but I think there is something wrong here (else of my poor English).

The story is:

- there are some (too much...) hardware which *require* the system to load/run
  proprietary firmware/driver, otherwise they do not work properly or do not
  work at all...

- there are some operating systems which load/run that proprietary
  firmware/driver, automatically by default or just asking users previously, or
  suggesting/requiring users to manually do this...  
  these operating systems are, typically, proprietary OSs or "non-free"
  Gnu/Linux distros (which, unfortunately, are the majority... such is Ubuntu)

- there are users which do not really take care of freedom and privacy: they
  buy/use any hardware, and install/use any sort of OSs (including non-free
  Gnu/Linux distros) and firmware/driver to have all the hardware functioning...

- there are users which really take care of freedom and privacy: before to buy
  hardware, they check it not require proprietary firmware/driver to work and,
  if they discover to have "non-free" hardware in their systems, they try to do
  any effort in order to replace it...
  these are the *only* ways to be able to run a *libre* Linux kernel (with a
  fully free software GNU/Linux distro) on "working" hardware...

So, maybe your "previously functioning hardware" still works well with a
non-libre Linux kernel version; and probably maybe it works well also with the
kernels of many proprietary operating systems...

But, if you are really concerned with freedom and privacy, you should agree
that any of proprietary firmware/driver required by certain hardware simply
*CANNOT* be included in a fully free system environment.

Just an example. A lot of network cards require proprietary firmware/driver
which are provided in form of "binary" blobs by some Linux kernels: people
cannot know what the binary code really does, neither which are all the data
(and destinations) transmited by the card... 
Then the question is just this: Do I prefer freedom and privacy so I try
to change the card, or I simply run a blobbed kernel with proprietary
firmware/driver, without care of freedom and privacy?

People who wants to run a *libre* kernel have just three possible options
- check hardware in advance (great!)
- replace "non-free" hardware (good)
- use a "non-free" system (bad and dangerous)

al3xu5 / dotcommon
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