"Respects Your Freedom" certification?


_wb_

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Maybe we should try to get the Pandora successor certified by the FSF to get the "Respects Your Freedom" label.

I think this fits very well with the general ideology of the Pandora community.

Looking at the criteria, I think that the current Pandora is already pretty close. The main things that are problematic are:

1) Proprietary binary blob drivers for wifi and GPU: we would have to make sure that we have hardware for which FOSS drivers exist.

2) AFAIK, the firmware is 100% Free Software (except for the binary blobs mentioned above), so that is fine. But on the repo, which does have the status of "officially recommended", there is a mix of all kinds of software. To satisfy the FSF criteria, it would be necessary to only officially recommend Free Software. Of course "third parties" are free to offer what they want, but the "Official" project should not offer non-free software, or even advertise or link to the "third parties" that do. They don't have to try to prevent people from using that non-free third party software, but they shouldn't make it very easy either.

I think nobody would object to trying to address point 1 in a future device - experience has shown us that it sucks to be stuck with proprietary blobs. Point 2, I expect, is much more controversial. It would imply that non-free software like Kami Retro or DraStic would not be on the "official" repo anymore, but only on some third party repo.

Please discuss :)
 

Mr_Loon

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@ _wb_ : Quick question before I contribute to the discussion : What benefits do you think RYF certification would bring to the P2? I'm not that well informed about the whole free software / hardware movement, so the perspective of someone who is, relating to the potential benefits of certification would be appreciated.
 

KickAss

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^^ so in order to get a "respects your freedom" certificate, we'd have to give up freedom?
:)

/me likey likey

fullfilling the given requirements doesn't seem to be too much trouble.
 

_wb_

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@ _wb_ : Quick question before I contribute to the discussion : What benefits do you think RYF certification would bring to the P2? I'm not that well informed about the whole free software / hardware movement, so the perspective of someone who is, relating to the potential benefits of certification would be appreciated.
The main benefits, in my opinion, would be:

- It would give the Pandora successor a clear philosophical/ethical position towards the outside world: it would be immediately clear what the aims are of this hardware, compared to other handhelds.

- Extra visibility and promotion by the FSF.

- It would attract the kind of people we want to have in our community.

- It would be a way to say "thank you" to the GNU/Linux and Free Software community in general for creating the software that made the Pandora possible and will make its successor possible.
 

comradekingu

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100% agree with wb.

Edit: It is not against commercial software, its against proprietary software, which does not respect your freedom. In terms of hardware, its the same idea with binary blobs and DRM. So it enables freedom, in no way limiting.

For instance the f-droid repo has orders of magnitude better apps than the play store for the threshold on free as in freedom apps only.

By the time a successor would come around drastic might have gone with a different license, so thats not to worry about. Worst case people can manage to find it anyway.

A 100% free device makes a whole lot of sense for non-planned-for obsolescence, which is environmentally friendly and very cool as a feature.
 
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Exophase

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If there's a consensus that this is what's best for the device I don't mind moving my proprietary stuff to a different repo. I can respect that this is a pretty niche device and it helps to appeal to special groups like this. I would be kind of peeved if I got booed off the community though :p

But honestly I don't know if the audience is really there. Over the years I've only really seen a handful of people really show strong support for this. It's just hard to imagine that there's a big group of people who would buy it only if it were more open.

That and getting any kind of open source GPU drivers is going to be difficult no matter the SoC. The best hope there is for reverse engineering projects, probably. Wifi shouldn't be a problem anymore.
 

KickAss

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It would attract the kind of people we want to have in our community.
major point here.

i mean i can only speak for myself and i may not even be able to contribute much, but i'd rather contribute to a "free" system/community than to anything else.

simply because i love all of the "free" stuff i get here.

of course the pandora is "free" already, but giving it some fsf label gives the whole idea behind it kind of the right touch. we'd give testimony to our initial goals and ethics.

of course it ain't necessary, but it feels right (at least to me).

please do note that the term "free" is used here in a very general way.

theres no need of pointing out that the pandora is actually not free (as in cost-free)

I would be kind of peeved if I got booed off the community though
as if that's ever gonna happen! :rolleyes:
 
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ekianjo

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It's just hard to imagine that there's a big group of people who would buy it only if it were more open.
I agree. People don't care for their Freedoms that much. Look at the popularity of Steam, even among Linux users. It's all DRM stuff.

And even among developers, it's highly debated. Many devs make their living on closed-sourced stuff while they philosophically like the idea of being "open".

I don't think you will gather much support from the consumer side anyway, just like  Linux does not take off on desktop no matter how "Free" some distributons are. 
 

ekianjo

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- It would give the Pandora successor a clear philosophical/ethical position towards the outside world: it would be immediately clear what the aims are of this hardware, compared to other handhelds.
I'm not opposing your idea, but even as IT IS currently, the Pandora is WAY more open than any other device out there. Do we really need to step forward a notch more? Getting to a 100% free system is a lot of effort and you cannot do it without suppliers blessings for many components.  

Net, is it worth the effort? i.e. what's the business case? :)
 
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WizardStan

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of course the pandora is "free" already
It isn't free enough for some people, hence the need for the certification. My concern is the exact opposite: is attracting these kinds of people really what we want?The Pandora is quite free, you are able to write whatever you want, release it however you want. What happens if you no longer allow closed source software on the official repo? Yeah, you can add different repos, but in order to maintain certification OP would not be allowed to tell you about them. PNDStore would not be allowed to link to these repos, but the only purpose of PNDStore is to download PNDManager: not everyone knows that though and continue to use PNDStore, not aware that there's a better option. If PNDManager ever gets into the firmware then it wouldn't be allowed to link to these alternate repos either, they'd require user intervention to activate them, but if not everyone is aware enough to download PNDManager now then how can they be expected to know to turn on the alternate repos?

This becomes a restriction: if you release a closed program you would necessarily be losing some potential market. Maybe not a lot, but at least something.

Which brings me to my original concern: the people that would be attracted to the RYF label tend to be the kind of people that wouldn't activate the alternative repo even if they knew about it because it isn't entirely "free". Some of them will, some might even download a few non-free applications, but by and large if you are the kind to follow the FSF and have them guide purchasing decisions then you're not likely to stray from their system much. On the other hand they do tend to be a lot more tech savvy, and frequently programmers themselves, so there are benefits. Do the benefits from more technical users balance out the need to "hide" closed software?

All that being said, it's entirely moot anyway. You are allowed to have closed source applications in the "official" repo as long as OPT doesn't actually recommend any of the closed source applications

a general-purpose facility for installing other programs, with which the choice of programs to install comes directly from the user, is not considered to steer users toward anything in particular. However, the product suggests using the facility to install certain programs, that is steering users towards those programs.
"Here's PNDStore, download whatever you want". Problem solved. Is PNDManager open? If it is then we really have no problem. If it isn't then I'm pretty sure OPT can't recommend it as your first download, and especially can't include it in the firmware.
And of course sourcing hardware for which we can get open source drivers is always a good idea, but has to be balanced with the fact that you won't always be able to get drivers for the new and shiny. Should we pass up a quad core big.LITTLE and fall back on a regular dual core if that's the best thing we can get open drivers for? I would say no, but that's my priority and I'd love to hear other people's opinions. Arguably the current GPU has definitely caused a lot of problems because of its closed sourcedness, but I doubt we'd be in a better position if the Pandora had selected a lesser SoC which did have open drivers.
 

milkshake

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I think the current pandora has it right already: freedom to choose. No need to exclude things just for a certificate that probably won't really affect its uptake/sales/interest in any real meaningful way, plus it might even have the opposite affect and scare people off
 

_wb_

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I don't think the effort would be large: essentially the only real problem is finding a SoC that has a GPU which has non-blob drivers. Plenty of SoCs use the Mali GPU, for which the Lima driver already exists and my guess is that it will be stable and better than the proprietary driver by the time a Pandora successor would be ready.

Besides that, the only effort would be to separate the free from the non-free part of the repo (supposed that the Pandora successor would be backwards-compatible and run P1 PNDs) and move the non-free part to a third-party, not officially endorsed repo.

Anyway, I don't think there are a lot of people who would see this certification as a necessary precondition for buying this device, but my guess is that there are quite a few people who would see it as a nice bonus. Most people will probably not really care about it. I don't think anyone will be repelled by it.
 

_wb_

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I think the current pandora has it right already: freedom to choose. No need to exclude things just for a certificate that probably won't really affect its uptake/sales/interest in any real meaningful way, plus it might even have the opposite affect and scare people off
The certificate won't take away your freedom to choose to run proprietary software, it only means it is possible to use the hardware without having to rely on proprietary stuff. Heck, if you want to install Windows 8 on it and find a way to do so, the certificate is not preventing you from doing that.

On the other hand, the current Pandora is pretty Free already, but not fully: I don't have the freedom to try to fix bugs in the buggy GPU driver, for example.
 

_wb_

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On the contrary, I think the current situation potentially causes confusion - there's no easy way to check the Freeness status of what you're downloading, only an optional "license" field that doesn't always have an informative value.
 

Exophase

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On Lima, bear in mind that we're talking about Mali-400 only here. Every time the uarch changes much (Mali-T6xx right now) that means starting a lot of the project over.

This gives some hope, though http://limadriver.org/T6xx+ISA/
 
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