[Arm-netbook] System 76 - Entering Phase 3

zap zapper at openmailbox.org
Sun Apr 23 16:25:09 BST 2017

On 04/23/2017 01:07 AM, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
>> While someone's at it, perhaps Think Penguin should be contacted.
>> Actually, I just checked and they seem to have invited Luke to their
>> table at HOPE, so they are well aware of and interested in the project.
>  they're the sponsor of the 15.6in libre laptop, tor :)
>  zap, john, lyberta: yeah i'm finding it tiring, and frickin hard
> work.  but there's something else that occurred to me almost... i
> think it was over eight years ago, which spurred this entire project,
> which i believe will help.
>  i think what you're feeling, especially you lyberta, is a sort of
> "futility" of the effectiveness of the free software movement
> precisely *because* it's focussed *on* software, exclusively.
>  i mentioned this before, but it's worth reiterating: chris from
> thinkpenguin told me the story of why he started a hardware selling
> company: it's because one of his first jobs was for lindows^Wlinspire
> as a QA tester.  unlike many of the other people in the company -
> including the other QA testers - he quickly and *comprehensively*
> realised that, unlike microsoft whose dominance of hardware forces
> peripheral manufacturers to write drivers *BEFORE* releasing the
> hardware, linux kernel drivers are written AFTER release... if at all,
> making linspire's entire business model a hopelessly optimistic one.
> (linspire basically aimed to be a "preinstall" option on hard drives
> shipped out to OEMs, just like microsoft has done for decades).
> from the ridiculousness of this attempt at the time (it was far too
> early basically) and with HDDs going out that comprehensively even
> failed to *boot* on OEM's hardware in many cases, chris *clearly* saw
> in ways that many other people would never get to see that the only
> way to sell working hardware was to *pre-vet the hardware*.
> contrast this to linspire's approach which was: "we naively expect all
> hardware to just... well... work".  even apple don't do that.  in
> their early days they sold pre-approved special hardware: you bought
> that, they wrote the drivers themselves, it worked.  and if you didn't
> you were on your own.  what they sold was pretty much everything you
> needed, and it wasn't long before hardware companies started making
> software drivers *BEFORE* releasing hardware for apple products as
> well.
> so chris *DOES NOT* have the same level of tired hopelessness and
> frustrating futility that other people are feeling in the software
> libre world.
> instead however he has a constant race to find hardware that can be
> freed from proprietary drivers: the AR9271 took *TWO YEARS* to
> patiently walk the entire company (atheros) through the process of
> releasing the source code, justified easily by the increased sales.
> the problem there was that when qualcomm bought atheros the entire
> management and engineering team left, leaving absolutely nobody for
> him to contact for the revision 10 (802.11ac) hardware.
> likewise: he could see that time is running out for the thinkpad X.200
> older intel processors, and he was getting increasingly concerned at
> the lack of hardware companies producing laptop products that he could
> endorse (because they keep using AMD or intel with proprietary BIOS
> components).
> so that's when he contacted me, to sponsor the 15.6in libre laptop.
> in summary: we're getting tired because there *are* no good hardware
> options.  reverse-engineering is... well it's a nice challenge but you
> always get *old hardware*, not designed by you, but designed by
> someone else.  that's.... well, i don't have to spell it out.
> so for goodness sake: every person who is building open and libre
> hardware, back them to the hilt.  the powerpc-notebook team, the
> vero-apparatus team (if you can find their contact details that is),
> anyone and everyone.

I get the feeling your trying to say, back anyone who offers an
alternative to proprietary software yes?

I hope I am understanding correctly...

I am glad Chris from thinkpenguin decided to contact you. 

You are right, we need more options.

The more the better even if some are far from ideal, it is better to go
open source with a little proprietary crap, then all proprietary crap on.

Not that free software isn't the best option point blank.

If I am tiring you out, my bad.

> l.
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