Making Free Software easy to use and commonly available

Matthias Kirschner mk at
Mon Nov 18 15:48:36 UTC 2013

* Otto Kekäläinen <otto at> [2013-09-28 16:23:02 +0300]:

> 2) If the person already uses some FS, and you want them to make a
> strategic decision to always us FS, suggest them to buy a
> pre-installed Linux-laptop. This way their experience is likely to be
> happy and at the same time they contribute in the process of "voting
> with their money" to show laptop manufacturers that Linux support is
> important.
> My own favorite is the Dell XPS 13, which comes with Ubuntu
> preinstalled but you can replace the distro with your favorite as the
> drivers are open and custom kernel is public at Details
> at

Looks like the discussion continued in the blogs, without a follow-up
here. So make sure to read Hugo's and Paul's articles about the laptop. Beside
Otto also had to update the page about the laptop:

  We found out that the in the new laptop shipped to us this fall the
  Intel wifi card has been replaced with an Atheros wifi card, which
  unfortunately does not have a proper Linux driver, thus the connection
  issues. It seems Dell has been aware of Atheros wifi card problems
  since July as a thread in the Dell support forum shows, but still they
  ship the “downgraded” crappy model. With some tweaking, you may or may
  not get the Atheros wifi model working.

  As the whole point of buying a pre-installed Linux laptop is to get
  hardware that is guaranteed to work with Linux, we can no longer
  recommend this laptop. It is a shame. Our earlier Dell XPS 13 still
  works perfectly as it has the Intel wifi card.

The other problem in this offer is Ubuntu itself. First because of
spying on the users by default (see Richard Stallman's "Ubuntu Spyware:
What to do?" <>
or EFF's "Privacy in Ubuntu 12.10: Amazon Ads and Data Leaks"
Second, as I assume you would also be interested to buy a machine with
GNU/Linux preinstalled instead of Microsoft Windows, although you will
afterwards choose another distribution, it helps to prefer offers with
distributions which do not include non-free software like Ubuntu does.
If the hardware works one of those distributios, it will also work with
another GNU/Linux distribution, which does not include non-free

I am still a bit unsure what the better way is for the future (in the
past I already did both): buy a computer without an operating system and
install GNU/Linux distribution of my own choice.  This way I do not
spent money on non-free Software (although some money might still go to
Microsoft, because the vendor has to pay them independant of how the
machine was sold to me). Other way I buy a laptop with GNU/Linux
preinstalled which includes non-free software. This way I pay money for
non-free software -- which I very much dislike -- but on the other hand
I show my demand for laptops with GNU/Linux preinstalled which makes it
easier for friends and family to buy hardware without my help which
includes much more Free Software and less non-free software, than if
they would if they buy a Microsoft Windows or Apple machine.

Best Regards,

Matthias Kirschner - Vice President FSFE
Schönhauser Allee 6/7, 10119 Berlin, t +49-30-27595290 +49-1577-1780003 
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