Is it acceptable to use proprietary software (platforms) to promote software freedom?

dguthrie at dguthrie at
Sun Jul 23 18:43:53 UTC 2017

Hi Adonay,

Tails concerns itself with offensive attacks against Tor browser and 
making programs use Tor safely; its threat model does not concern (what 
would have to be quite advanced) attacks from the firmware.
(Furthermore, free software firmware can be buggy too, it should be 
noted, which is crucial in the case of wireless cards. Even the cards 
with free loadable wireless firmware still handle 802.11n frames with 
proprietary embedded firmware, on a DSP most likely. Handling those 
frames doesn't come out of thin air.).

Sure, free software can't start without security. But apart from the 
firmware, Tails is entirely free software. Tails' developers believe 
hardware support through loading proprietary firmware if necessary, and 
I am inclined to agree this is a worthwhile compromise. They don't use 
proprietary drivers, it should be noted.

The argument "freedoms of the software are a prerequisite for security" 
is one I agree with, but in this context it is misleading - by 
extension, are you suggesting because Tails includes the firmware files, 
it is not secure? From what, exactly? It's equivalent to saying Tails' 
developers are being malicious and are loading the firmware to install 
back-doors. They aren't being malicious, it's just a compromise in favor 
of providing Tails security to people who wouldn't be able to use it 

- D

Adonay Felipe Nogueira:
> Problem is: The freedoms of the software are prerequise for security.
> This is problematic in Tails case because it has non-free parts inside 
> a
> product that is provided by a project with goals to provide security 
> and
> privacy.
> See:
> - [[]].
> - [[]].
> Don't worry about my signature, I rarely re-insert when replying to 
> same
> topic. :)
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