Reverse or Creation?
sebastien.roy at savoirfairelinux.com
Fri Mar 14 20:35:39 UTC 2014
I don't disagree with anything you said. However, as free software
advocates, I think we should not lose sight of two (or three if
we add the ecological dimension in) objectives:
- having more freedom-compliant devices operable (ex: trisquel on gluglug X60)
- having widespread usage of free software although not fully free (running
Ubuntu with non-free drivers on a dell laptop).
The former is the ideal. The later is a mean to facilitate acheiving the former.
This is where I think that cyanogen and even Android isn't half as bad as iOS
or windoze phone. I personally see it as a huge system-wide refactoring. One
approach makes no compromises on software freedom. The other is maximize freedom
under constraint of maximum operability (and often performance).
As such, the planned obsolescence of mobile devices is the de facto state of matter
and IMO, this is not the free-software's battle. It is a global social battle.
Free-software's battle is to have more free-software supporters and it requires
"widespreadability" and tolerance toward users that value performance and/or "newness"
above freedom. Android is the most widely spread mobile OS out there, and moving
from android to replicant on new devices is a smaller step to the mass than moving
from android to another platform on another device more expensive than their current
expensive device with less belts and whistles. In other words, planned non-obsolescence
free-devices design is not a competitor to freed obsolescent devices as they are not
sharing the same market.
My 2 cents.
----- Mail original -----
> De: "Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller" <hns at goldelico.com>
> À: "Paul Kocialkowski" <contact at paulk.fr>, "Sébastien Roy" <sebastien.roy at savoirfairelinux.com>,
> replicant at lists.osuosl.org
> Envoyé: Vendredi 14 Mars 2014 15:42:49
> Objet: Re: Reverse or Creation?
> Am 14.03.2014 um 20:14 schrieb Paul Kocialkowski:
> >> The free software and open source software works because software
> >> is less
> >> prone to obsolescence than hardware which allows armies of dev to
> >> work in their
> >> precious spare time on promising projects for years - even decades
> >> before
> >> they begin to be relevant (at which point financing appears...
> >> ironically).
> The only problem is that we (users) allow manufacturers to sell us a
> new device
> every 6 months. Because we run behind the latest and greatest
> >> You just can't do that with hardware. You must spend 150% of your
> >> time
> >> to quickly win the race against obsolescence and huge proprietary
> >> industrial
> >> producers and quasi monopoly. It's just not feasible. Maybe if
> >> research
> >> centers decided (or were ruled to) open source, creative common,
> >> open
> >> science or free software the results of their public funded
> >> results, I
> >> could consider it.
> > I totally agree. As a software developer working on embedded
> > devices
> > that become obsolete in a 6-month time frame (well, that's
> > according to
> > the industry, people make their devices last longer), I find it
> > really
> > depressing how the software we write for a particular device can
> > become
> > nearly useless when the device becomes obsolete (even though it's
> > good
> > to have it as a reference for other devices, but that's a
> > chicken-and-egg issue).
> Yes, that is what we want to make completely different with the
> initiative: have devices that are not obsolete after 6 months because
> are abandoned by the manufacturer.
> There is still support for the GTA02 or GTA04 after years. And since
> a lot of
> information is really open it can be supported.
> And what is rearely understood: yes such a GTA0x is more expensive
> than a modern device. But if you keep it for 4 or 5 years and get
> instead of buying 3 less expensive unsupported devices over the same
> time, total cost of ownership is lower.
> Even if you subtract the effect of not being able to show around the
> and greatest design and features.
> > I suppose one of the biggest problems with hardware is the need of
> > producing a new device to implement a new feature. I don't see any
> > easy
> > way to fix this. Even if we decided to stick with a device for
> > several
> > years, knowing its functionalities are not going to evolve, we'd
> > still
> > be stuck with software being more and more demanding (in accordance
> > to
> > new devices' abilities).
> That is not a necessity and it *can* be done differently. I have an
> example of
> (old) Apple (when they were still interested in their customers):
> In 1993 I bought a 68040 based PowerBook with Mac OS 7.something and
> Framemaker 4 for doing professional scientific text processing.
> 10 (!) years later I was able to install and run the same binary
> application on
> a PowerPC and run it in an emulator on OS X 10.2 or 3 (don't remember
> And believe it or not - it was faster than ever and even did fix a
> bug with font rendering.
> So if software and API developers want to keep the APIs stable and
> running, it is
> no problem to keep software long living.
> But I must admit that I don't see how *we* can do that for Replicant,
> it is driven by Android which is driven by Google and they are not
> that much
> interested in keeping APIs stable for a long time (like Apple isn't
> > For instance, take the latest Android versions:
> > it's harder and harder to make them run on "old" Android devices
> > such as
> > the Nexus S, not to mention the HTC Dream. That's not only the case
> > with
> > Android: look at GNOME-Shell abandoning its EGL-less fallback
> > (AFAIK the
> > fallback gnome-shell is too slow to be usable). However, some
> > software
> > still exists (enlightenment), but adapting it and a whole GNU/Linux
> > system for mobile devices (i.e. SHR) is more work that porting
> > Replicant
> > to a new version on a new device.
> >> My 2 cents
> >> Sebastien
> >>>> Than, let me ask - wouldn't it be better to design a NEW system
> >>>> from
> >>>> scratch instead of spending years on reverse-engineering of what
> >>>> manufacturers are selling?
> >>> The real problem here is that we won't be able to have community
> >>> chips
> >>> manufacturing in the near future. The best we can do is to gather
> >>> chips
> >>> from free software-friendly manufacturers and assemble devices
> >>> that
> >>> way.
> >>> This is already done with e.g. the GTA04/neo900.
> >>> Devices with good design also exist (e.g. Allwinner
> >>> tablets/single
> >>> board
> >>> computers) and are about as good as what you can get with the
> >>> GTA04.
> >>>> Personally i chose not to spend time on reverse stuff.
> >>>> Concentrated
> >>>> all my power on research for new design.
> >>> From a developer point of view, starting a new platform from
> >>> scratch
> >>> is
> >>> not necessarily *less* work, it's just different work. Reverse
> >>> engineering stuff is currently doable (on selected platforms) and
> >>> well,
> >>> if we're already going that way, it's because it's the easiest
> >>> path
> >>> to
> >>> freedom currently.
> >>> --
> >>> Paul Kocialkowski, Replicant developer
> >>> Replicant is a fully free Android distribution
> >>> Website: http://www.replicant.us/
> >>> Redmine: http://redmine.replicant.us/
> >>> _______________________________________________
> >>> Replicant mailing list
> >>> Replicant at lists.osuosl.org
> >>> http://lists.osuosl.org/mailman/listinfo/replicant
> > --
> > Paul Kocialkowski, Replicant developer
> > Replicant is a fully free Android distribution
> > Website: http://www.replicant.us/
> > Redmine: http://redmine.replicant.us/
> > _______________________________________________
> > Replicant mailing list
> > Replicant at lists.osuosl.org
> > http://lists.osuosl.org/mailman/listinfo/replicant
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