[Arm-netbook] eoma68-jz4775 x-ray pictures

Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo manuel.montezelo at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 13:25:10 BST 2016


(probably a mistake to add to this thread, but... hey, it's Friday).

2016-04-29 11:55 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton:
> the hardware situation is: there's no proprietary firmware required.  period.
> the software situation is: in debian, a nonfree repository is easy to
>add, and is possible - and convenient - to add by default during the
>installation as well as during normal operation [see preamble sentence
>above about not reading into this as being "disrespectful" in any way:
>it's just stating the facts].

You are probably right that the FSF will not certify products with
Debian enabled, but your examples are incorrect, it's not easier to
install non-free software in Debian than in FSF-blessed distros.  (But
again, you are right that FSF might use the same examples as an excuse).

Since the alternatives that FSF recommend and bless are something like
Trisquel or gNewSense, which are based on Debian (or Ubuntu?), it's
similarly trivial for any user to enable non-free repositories or
install non-free software directly in their hypothetical RYF-cerfitied
computer with some Debian/Ubuntu-based and FSF-blessed distro -- using
non-free or Ubuntu repositories directly in Trisquel/gNewSense, for
example, or grabbing the packages from them and installing by hand, or
even compiling from upstream's repos (I have many non-specially-savvy
friends who do this).

If Trisquel/gNewSense are based on Ubuntu rather than Debian, and users
go to Ubuntu's forums to get help (if their distro it's just Ubuntu with
the non-free bits removed, it would be the natural place to go), and
decide to enable the Ubuntu repos or others (SteamOS, ...) rather than
Debian, they possibly have even more chances to use more non-free
software than if they restricted themselves to Debian's non-free repos
(which after all don't have lots of "non-free software" as most people
understand it, e.g. proprietary games).

It's also similarly trivial for them to got to some communication
application website (let's call it Spyke), see that there's a version of
Spyke for Debian/Trisquel/whatever, download the .deb and install with
dpkg, which all of these distros provide.

...now, for all of these cases I assume that people enabling those
repositories are not mislead/tricked into installing non-free software,
and that they are not idiots, which sometimes seems to me that it's the
condescending view of FSF to treat Debian in that way while blessing

In your example of "synaptic", if they have to enable non-free repos
explicitly, they are not doing it unknowingly.  The fact that somebody
may install synaptic (as in your example) already indicates that they
know what they are doing and what they want to achieve.

Like Phil, I believe that the problem that users are trying to solve by
installing those pieces of non-free software is that they need the
firmware to enable the hardware that they have (possibly recycled from
their family, not an option to buy new one), or need to use Spyke
temporarily for a job interview / university application / talk to their
uncle in Taiwan before arranging a visit (the alternative that the
company or university are going to offer is not to use a free
communication tool, but to ignore the applicant), or use some non-free
software for their tax-returns (or otherwise possibly face huge fines or

So in summary, if the users are conscious about the non-freeness, they
will do the possible/reasonable to avoid it whether they use Debian or
FSF-blessed ones; and if they don't care, they can circumvent it as
easily in FSF-blessed distros and in Debian.

But again, yes, probably you will not pass RFY filter if you use Debian
with that name.

> an RYF Certification is therefore only possible if:
> (a) the software source code is entirely libre, right down to
>power-up (boot time) of the hardware.

Debian is, by default.

> (b) the installation of proprietary software, whilst *NOT*
>prohibited, must at the very least not be made "convenient".

'wget spyke*.deb && dpkg -i spyke*.deb' convenient enough in all the
alternatives to Debian   :-)

(even easier to install than your example with synaptic)

>(2) to move the nonfree archive GPG key into a separate package, which
>is then not installed.  this again satisfies FSF criteria (b), above.

My example above (dpkg) doesn't check gpg signatures, and it's trivial
to ignore them in apt (--allow-unauthenticated) or other installation

>this basically satisfies and respects the both the Debian Charter and
>the FSF's requirements, without implying any disrespect for either.
>what is STILL POSSIBLE for an end-user to do is as follows:
> (3) at any time, an end-user MAY still install that [hypothetical]
>keyring for the nonfree archive.  it will be slightly inconvenient.
>lots of steps will be needed, such as maybe even downloading a dpkg
>and running as root, and following written instructions.
> (4) once that package is installed, they will then need to edit
>/etc/apt/sources.list - by hand.  this, again, will be slightly
>inconvenient - and to add "nonfree" to the sources.list debian archive
> this "inconvenience" is an extra hoop which i believe would help
>satisfy the FSF's criteria in a respectful way whilst, critically, NOT
>actually preventing the end-user from doing it in the first place.
>and that, i believe, would mean that it also satisfies and respects
>the *Debian* Social Charter, because it's not actually stopped
>end-users from doing something that they want to do.

See above, no necessary to go through these hoops at all.

Your example of synaptic and stuff also needs running as root.  dpkg is
present in all-debian based systems, incl. Ubuntu and
Trisquel/gNewSense, no need to install anything other than download a
deb package with the browser and feed it into dpkg (plenty of
instructions and recommendations to do that all over the web).

I'll stop here :)

Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo <manuel.montezelo at gmail.com>

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