Free Software Foundation Courts Hardware Vendors

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Print this article Print


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The FSF is trying to talk hardware vendors into working with it for the greater good of open-source users—and their own bank balances. (Linux-Watch)

The FSF (Free Software Foundation) is expanding beyond its software boundaries, and reaching out to hardware vendors to encourage them to "work with the free software community" to establish a "mutually beneficial relationship." It's all spelled out in a just-published white paper.

On March 1, the FSF released "The Road to Hardware Free from Restrictions," written by Justin Baugh and Ward Vandewege, senior systems administrators for the FSF. In it, they detail ways for major hardware manufacturers to work with free software for the benefit of both interest groups.

Members of DefectiveByDesign.org, a campaign by the Free Software Foundation, targeted Apple stores over DRM (digital rights management.) Click here to read more.

In the past, the FSF has restricted itself primarily to software issues. This is a new focus for the venerable free software group.

Specifically, the FSF is recommending that manufacturers take action in five areas:
  • Support free software drivers
  • End the "Microsoft Tax"
  • Remove proprietary BIOS locks
  • Support a free BIOS
  • Reject DRM (aka "Digital Restrictions Management")

    In a statement, Peter Brown, FSF executive director, said, "With the growing utilization of free software and the rejection of Microsoft's Vista, large vendors like HP, Dell, Lenovo and Sun have the opportunity and responsibility to acknowledge the market for hardware suitable for free software users—hardware that meets ethical requirements for user freedom, privacy and security.

    "We hope that this paper will focus attention on what needs to get done in the coming months."

    Read the full story on Linux-Watch: Free Software Foundation Courts Hardware Vendors

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    Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor of eWEEK.com's Linux & Open Source Center and Ziff Davis Channel Zone. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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