Uncorrectable freedom and security issues on x86 platforms

Daniel Pocock daniel at pocock.pro
Tue Apr 5 12:27:22 UTC 2016

On 05/04/16 13:42, Paul Boddie wrote:
> On Tuesday 5. April 2016 10.20.49 Daniel Pocock wrote:
>> On 04/04/16 18:42, Tobias Platen wrote:
>>> Half a year ago I baught a libreboot machine from Minifree, which
>>> is now my main computer. I own several ARM based computers, with
>>> processors from Texas Instruments and Allwinner, which I use for
>>> various other tasks. I'm also interested in PowerPC, as a
>>> replacement for Intel. Ive heard about a PowerPC notebook[1] as a
>>> community effort.
>> This type of practical feedback and action is really underestimated
>> If every serious free software developer and user goes out and buys at
>> least one piece of genuinely free hardware and tries to use it for
>> some aspect of what we do then it will make us much more conscious of
>> the fact that these platforms need to be supported seriously, even if
>> we aren't explicitly things developing for them.
> Agreed. I'm fed up of hearing about people who "must" have a MacBook (or 
> whatever they're called) because of their supposed reliability or friendliness 
> to Free Software, or because those people think it runs a "good enough version 
> of Unix", as they then go and install all the GNU tools, anyway, after 
> eventually discovering what everyone who had to use proprietary Unix a decade 
> or two ago already knew.
>> The question is, can we make a shortlist of devices that people should
>> consider buying?  Such a shortlist would probably consider:
>> - price and value for money
>> - suitability for specific tasks (e.g. compiling, making
>> presentations, watching movies, office work)
>> - warranty and servicing issues, e.g. for laptops
>>   - can the battery be replaced,
>>   - how easy is it to get it fixed or replaced
>>     at short notice if it fails while traveling
>>     to a conference
>> - which distributions are supporting the device seriously and how many
>> other developers already have something similar, does it have critical
>> mass
>> Collating these details for various products in each category (e.g.
>> laptop, workstation, home server, embedded development board) will
>> make it much easier for people to overcome whatever inertia keeps them
>> from acquiring free hardware.
> This kind of thing is a lot of work. We tried to collect a list of hardware 
> vendors on the wiki:
> http://wiki.fsfe.org/Migrated/Hardware Vendors
> (Everything on the wiki has been moved around, so links may need to be 
> followed via error pages.)
> And there wasn't an attempt to catalogue the details, either. Really, it was 
> enough work just tracking whether the companies offering stuff were still 
> doing so or were even still trading at all.

Thanks for that feedback.  It doesn't need to be a list of every
possible option.  Showing at least one or two suitable options and the
criteria used to evaluate them gives people confidence to buy them.

>> Going beyond that, finding a way to gift such devices to free software
>> developers could create even more momentum around support for free
>> hardware.
> I would rather Free Software developers came to their senses and made the 
> right purchasing decisions than have them getting presents that they probably 
> don't want and which end up lying around unused (or sold on, if various device 
> developer programmes are any indication).

That is a generalization

If you give 1,000 laptops with genuinely free hardware to developers, I
suspect some of those will appear on eBay but definitely not all of
them.  Some would be put to good use: if just 20% of the recipients did
something serious with the device, it may compensate for the cost of the
laptops "wasted" on the other 80% of developers.

By way of analogy, I've heard that the infantry has to shoot 8,000
bullets for every 1 enemy they kill.



More information about the Discussion mailing list