[Dev] Misleading information in EOMA68 news

Tiberiu-Cezar Tehnoetic tct at ceata.org
Tue Aug 16 07:31:50 GMT 2016

On 15.08.2016 22:23, Paul Kocialkowski wrote:
> Le lundi 15 août 2016 à 21:45 +0300, Tiberiu-Cezar Tehnoetic a écrit :
>> On 15.08.2016 21:23, Paul Kocialkowski wrote:
>>> Le lundi 15 août 2016 à 21:04 +0300, Tiberiu-Cezar Tehnoetic a écrit :
>>>> On 15.08.2016 20:09, Paul Kocialkowski wrote:
>>>>> Thus, it would be more accurate to say that the device is free-software-
>>>>> friendly, which is vague enough to not be contradictory with the facts.
>>>> I'm not really a big fan of the "free-software-friendly" term, exactly
>>>> because it's vague (laking a definition/criteria) and it doesn't really
>>>> tell users much regarding how respecting of software freedom that piece
>>>> of hardware is. That's why a wide range of hardware projects feel at
>>>> liberty to promote themselves as "free-software-friendly".
>>> Indeed, it's not very precise, but I don't think that's the goal here. I
>>> think
>>> vague statements are fine as long as they are clearly recognized as such.
>> It depends on the targeted audience. If that is the general public, I'm
>> sure that the average user doesn't clearly recognize this term as vague.
>> I believe the targeted audience of the Parabola blog is not only
>> educated users/free software activists/developers, but the general
>> public/average computer user.
> I mean that the precise wording "free-software-friendly" is intrinsically vague,
> so I doubt that anyone will understand it as an equivalent of "fully free
> software" or "freedom-respecting".

However, both average users and high-profile organizations in the free
software world are using "free software friendly" to also mean "fully
free software" or "freedom-respecting".

Few examples:

User #1:

Free software friendly GPS? [...] that even RMS would approve of?

User #2:

Free software friendly (Wireless) Gamepads [...] should work on a Linux
kernel without blobs (eg: Linux-libre, Debian GNU/Linux kernel, etc

User #3:

Is Arduino Free software friendly? Re: The Arduino software is free software

Company #1:

Freedom Included - free software friendly hardware [...] Lemote Yeeloong
[...] the only laptop in the world that completely respects free
software - for example, it has modifiable copyleft boot firmware (bios),
and wifi that does not require binary blobs to work. It is the laptop
used by the founder of the GNU project and Free Software.

Company #2:

ThinkPenguin, Inc. is currently the only company with a significant
catalog selling free software friendly hardware. From wifi adapters and
printers to desktops and laptops. For more information on free software
friendly hardware check out the Free Software Foundation's Respect Your
Freedom web site at: fsf.org/ryf.

Note: most if not all of their wifi adapters are freedom-respecting
(with or without RYF certification) but their laptops and desktops are
certainly not freedom-respecting since those use proprietary BIOS. To
them, all are "free software friendly" and, free software friendly =
FSF's RYF...

Company #3:

Talos is the world's first ATX-compatible, workstation-class mainboard
for the new, free-software friendly IBM POWER8 processor and architecture.

Note: however, if the board is produced and sold, is guaranteed to
receive the FSF's RYF certification. Rean on.

Nonprofit #1:

Interested in a powerful, free software friendly workstation? -  Let
Raptor Engineering know that you would be interested in purchasing a
Talos Secure Workstation mainboard that runs only 100% free firmware and
software. [...] Raptor Engineering, is gauging public interest in a new
high-end workstation designed to run only free software.

Nonprofit #2:

Linux: Free Software Friendly Graphics Card [...] completely open video
card [...] graphics card specifically for open source systems [...] so
that no one has to deal with anything closed source (BIOS included). The
goal here is to produce a graphics card which is a Free Software geek's
dream in terms of openness.

Nonprofit #3:

FSF certifies ThinkPenguin USB Wifi adapter with Atheros chip to be free
software friendly [...] The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today awarded
Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to the TPE-N150USB Wireless N
USB Adapter, sold by ThinkPenguin.

> So the question is whether it's good to use vague wording. I think that e.g. for
> the news title, it would be fine. Of course, a link to RYF and the single-board-
> computers page could shed some more lights for anyone interested.

Given the examples above where "free software friendly" is used by a
wide range of users, companies and nonprofits for both hardware fully
compatible with free software and hardware not fully compatible with
free software, I hope we can reach the same conclusion that we have to
avoid this ambiguous term which spreads confusion among what is and what
is not software freedom respecting, thus working against our efforts to
educate users as part of the free software movement.

To draw a parallel between "free software friendly" and "eco-friendly",
yes, I believe Purism has pioneered the practice of "software freedom
washing", similar to greenwashing :-)



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