3rd Fellowship Raffle to attract more Fellows

Georg C. F. Greve greve at fsfeurope.org
Tue Mar 13 09:58:16 UTC 2007

 || On Mon, 12 Mar 2007 15:36:25 -0400
 || John Sullivan <johns at fsf.org> wrote: 

 js> Since it's the communications stack that's proprietary in this
 js> case, I don't think that will work.

Do you know a device with a free GSM stack? We'd be glad to help
promote that device. To my knowledge there is no such stack or device
at the moment, including the OpenMoko.

The issue in this case is a thicket of cross-licensed patents that
includes parties that appear to have no interest in resolving that
situation. This is not good, and we'll need to work on that.

Meanwhile we can already give people substantially more freedom on
mobile phones. At the current point in time, the vast majority of PDAs
and mobile phones sold are proprietary from bottom to top.

The GreenPhone already offers significantly more freedom than other
mobile phones, only the OpenMoko appears to be potentially better.

According to my knowledge, which is based on cursory examination, the
Nokia tablets and GreenPhone both are almost entirely Free Software,
although they both fall short by a couple of packages (and the GSM
stack in one case). So their status appears somewhat similar to that
of the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution.

But the area of GNU/Linux distributions is much more mature in terms
of freedom than that of mobile phones and PDAs. The whole area of
PDAs, mobile phones and similar is one that is still very much
dominated by proprietary software. There is not a single device that
could be recommended without warning.

The way the Free Software community addressed similar issues in the
past is to get and (within legal limits) study what you want to
replace, and replace the non-free components one by one. That is how
the GNU Project got started, it was a major motivation to establish
Debian, and other examples exist in other areas.

We need to build a stronger presence of the Free Software community in
this area. Harald Welte is already doing a fantastic job, but we need
more people like him.

So the idea is to give technologically adept Free Software people with
an inclination to play devices that already come with mostly Free
Software and allow tinkering, and make sure to point them to the
problem of non-free components so we will have more freedom for
everyone as a result.


Georg C. F. Greve                                 <greve at fsfeurope.org>
Free Software Foundation Europe	                 (http://fsfeurope.org)
Join the Fellowship and protect your freedom!     (http://www.fsfe.org)
What everyone should know about DRM                   (http://DRM.info)
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