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

From: josh
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] A user's view
Date: Thu, 02 Jan 2014 15:37:11 +1030

When I was young there were no computers, no mobile phones and no TV.
And if we wanted to make a phone call we walked two miles to the village
phone box. But that didn't matter because we didn't know anyone who had
a phone for us to call. And nobody in the family had a car. Or a washing
machine, or a dishwasher.

None of that worried us because that was how nearly everyone else lived.
(And for most of those years we didn't have electricity anyway.)

But a fully functional home computer system is now a part of everyday
life. So if GNU/Linux or any other system is to be an alternative to
Microsoft and not just a pretty toy for geeks to play with, it has to do
what most other people's computers do. And if that means using non-free
software to bridge a few gaps until there is free software to do the
job, so be it.

Fortunately there are plenty of sensible developers who have realised
this and worked - and are still working - hard, to overcome the need for
anything other than free software. Meanwhile those of us who are not
millionaires will just carry on getting whatever equipment we already
own to work in any way that we can, and try to persuade the
manufacturers to release their drivers as free software.

And if we do have any money to spare we will donate it to the people
developing free software; not waste it replacing perfectly serviceable
hardware. We will do whatever it takes to avoid having to buy Microsoft
products to connect us to the real world.

I like what you say about network cards and entirely agree but what you
run on another machine that has no Internet connection is not likely to
cause a security problem.

On Sun, 2013-12-29 at 19:57 +0100, al3xu5 / dotcommon wrote:
> 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
> remaining:
> - check hardware in advance (great!)
> - replace "non-free" hardware (good)
> - use a "non-free" system (bad and dangerous)
> Regards
> _______________________________________________
> gNewSense-users mailing list
> address@hidden

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