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crowdfunding going live tomorrow evening (28th june 2016) USA time

exactly as in the subject line.  we'll be running for 2 months, then
i'll be off to taiwan.  still working on the page and finalising the
images, video and text, very very busy today and tomorrow.

l.
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live radio show, freedom phoenix 23rd june 2016

http://rhombus-tech.net/community_ideas/laptop_15in/news/

just went on local radio here, added a link.  was a lot of fun - ernie
clearly has a bee in his bonnet about the whole libre firmware thing,
so it was great to be able to calm him down... a bit :)

l.

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parabola arm gnu.linux up and running with xfce4

http://rhombus-tech.net/community_ideas/micro_desktop/news/

quick demo video, libreoffice and a webkit-based browser, i've also
got cups up and running.  all ready before the crowdfunding's due to
launch in the next few days.

l.

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parabola-arm gnu/linux up and running on eoma68-a20 cpu card

i've managed to bootstrap parabola arm linux and get it up and running
on the eoma68-a20 cpu card - the last remaining one that i have access
to that is still working.  video of first boot is here.  apologies for
brevity, getting ready for the upcoming launch.
https://youtu.be/Ld6_W9IF3bk

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talk at porcupine festival 2016

http://porcfest2016.sched.org/event/7I8M/the-economics-of-eco-laptops-guaranteeing-personal-and-local-economic-security

i'm giving a talk at porcfest on 21st june if anyone's interested in attending.

l.

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Hans-Christian Jehg | 27 May 20:24 2016
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Re: EOMA68 libre laptop and microdesktop, soon to launch

Just to chime in :-)

As usual this mailing list is super interesting to follow.

Can't wait for this revolution in the marked of laptops/embedded systems...

I am always reading immediately, even if the e-mail arrives on Christmas eve during just before the big dinner :-D

hcjehg
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EOMA68 libre laptop and microdesktop, soon to launch

hi folks very busy here, also packing up as we're leaving holland, and
been ill for several days *and* getting the portable 3d printer up and
running - it's all happening.  we're due to launch soon, and are
applying for RYF Certification to cover the average end-user.  spoke
to josh gay about that, he confirmed that the FSF is in no way
concerned about the average technical user (which all of us are here
on arm-netbooks), it's when proprietary software is available and
installed via an easy click-point interface with absolutely no
warnings whatsoever.  so we've worked out the procedures for applying
for and then including a RYF-Certified product on the same launch page
as the rest.  it's very specific but we'll manage fine.

nearly there, thank you to everyone for being so patient.  EOMA68 is a
long-term standard that has to be right first time it goes out.
there's no possibility for correcting mistakes, as it would cause
confusion.  confusion automatically means failure so that can't
happen.  which is why i've had to bite the bullet, update the
standard, and start again with the prototypes three times now, costing
around $USD 10k each time.  it is what it is.  but i'm finally happy
with the standard, the proof-of-concept, whilst in bits, works 100%,
the modifications required are minor, so we launch.

l.

---
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Alexander .S.T. Ross | 13 May 15:27 2016

Open Source Circular Economy Days – Open & globally distributed hackathon exploring Open Source for a Circular Economy

https://oscedays.org/

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Re: eoma68-jz4775 x-ray pictures

2016-04-29 14:21 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton:
>
>> Your example of synaptic and stuff also needs running as root.
>[...]
> this type of faulty logical reasoning is rampant amongst
>non-technical people.  they *genuinely* believe that it is their fault
>when something goes wrong, so are completely afraid to do anything -
>to experiment, to tinker and to step outside of the box.

Well, that was kind of my point.

To enable non-free repos in Debian throught synaptic or whatever way
that you want, you need root, and many people will not do this [1],
neither in FSF-blessed distros nor in Debian.

But then, if one dares to use root and install files locally, or add
repo locations and so on, it can be done as easily in Debian as in
Trisquel/gNewSense -- just following a clear 3 step instruction in a
website, and that's it [2].

FSF considers that Debian enables people to use non-free software too
easily, even if it only happens when:

a) one installs the distribution in the device for the first time and
   *decides* to enable non-free repos -- which people with pre-installed
   devices will not do

b) or after that, when one *knowingly* (and as "root") enables Debian's
   clearly labeled "non-free" for some reason (or worse, 3rd party
   repos), containing non-free software -- which is also possible and as
   easy to do in FSF-blessed distros

c) or the many other cases explained in [2] -- no difference with
   FSF-blessed distros

So, as far as I can tell, the users are not mislead into using free
software when using Debian compared to FSF-blessed distros, or
collections of software like F-Droid that they do recommend.

But it's true that probably you will *not* get RYF badges if you decide
to use Debian as is.

(I think that it's worth asking them, though, perhaps they can be
persued if it's preinstalled with "non-free" disabled).

[1] There are stats flying around about percentage of people who root
    their phones being higher than 20%.  Even if I find it hard to
    believe, I think that it's much higher than fractions of 1% as you
    believe.

[2] Or use the browser, or qemu, or wine, to run non-free programs; or
    install non-free add-ons; or all the other cases explained in the
    reply to Paul's email.

Cheers.
--

-- 
Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo <manuel.montezelo <at> gmail.com>

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Re: Free distribution certification (was Re: eoma68-jz4775 x-ray pictures)

Hi,

2016-04-29 15:03 Paul Boddie:
>On Friday 29. April 2016 15.21.12 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
>>
>> > Since the alternatives that FSF recommend and bless are something like
>> > Trisquel or gNewSense, which are based on Debian (or Ubuntu?),
>>
>>  trisquel's based on ubuntu 8.04, and hasn't moved since.  gNewSense
>> is debian, and they appear to have used debian, but went for a much
>> more comprehensive "rebranding".  i'm interested in doing the minimum
>> required amount of work here.
>
>I think it's easy to go round in circles here when the FSF's own guidelines
>can instruct us and help explain why these separately-branded distributions
>exist. I hope the FSF doesn't mind me quoting from their document. ;-)

I know the reasons, but I don't agree with them and think that they are
misguided and actively harmful in this area.

Which is a shame, because in general I align 100% with the principles of
the FSF, as many other people in Debian do.

( Yes, I know that this is futile to resolve here, just wanted to refute
  some of Luke's points about being difficult to install non-free
  software in FSF-certified distros.

  BTW, I forgot to say that apt-1.1 and gdebi both install and resolve
  dependencies of local files, so they're even more convenient to use
  than dpkg for this purpose.  Probably package-kit-based front-ends and
  other higher level tools used from desktops --which I am pretty sure
  that are also present in Trisquel and gNewSense-- make the process
  easy as well ).

>On branding and naming:
>
>"We will not list a distribution whose name makes confusion with nonfree
>distributions likely. For example, if Foobar Light is a free distribution and
>Foobar is a nonfree distribution, we will not list Foobar Light."
>
>http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html#name-
>confusion
>
>So, if Debian is "nonfree" (let us not get into why or how they might reach
>that conclusion), then you won't get a Debian-branded certified distro.

This is FSF's objection about Debian:

  ============================================
  http://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.html

  (3 paragraphs)

  #1: "Debian's Social Contract states the goal of making Debian
  entirely free software, and Debian conscientiously keeps nonfree
  software out of the official Debian system. However, Debian also
  provides a repository of nonfree software. According to the project,
  this software is “not part of the Debian system,” but the repository
  is hosted on many of the project's main servers, and people can
  readily find these nonfree packages by browsing Debian's online
  package database and its wiki."
  ============================================

(Funnily enough, many "non-free packages" in non-free is documentation
for GNU software.  I am very happy that we host those in Debian, even if
they are "non-free", and I believe that it's a good service for Debian
users.)

Repository names, URLs and the section to which the packages belong
(shown in many tools) are clearly labeled as "non-free".  Any person who
wants to be careful installing such packages has enough hints to
indicate that s/he's installing something "non-free" because of some
specific aspect, and study it carefully (which still, its not being a
full "app store" full of proprietary apps, in any case).

Considering that these are not enough warnings is IMO condescending
towards those users, be them "grandma" (condescending and disrespectful
term for old women, BTW), 7 year-olds, or tech users.  And it's not true
that it's more challenging for any user, tech-savvy or not, to
enable/install non-free software in Trisquel or gNewSense *compared to*
Debian.

Besides, there are many opportunities outside the package system to
install non-free software, e.g. plug-ins for many applications.  I don't
think that in Trisquel/gNewSense most of those cases are either
prevented by the applications or that the users get a big warning if
they try to install plugins, or that they don't work if they follow the
documentation provided with the package and shipped in the distro, or
recommended in their own forums (4th post):

https://trisquel.info/en/forum/say-goodbye-npapi

Whether they are hosted or not by the distribution is not very important
in the end, end-users don't even know where they come from (esp. if URL
is not visible).  Maybe they assume that plugins for all the tools come
from the distro, when in fact they don't, which is *worse* than when
they decide to install a package on the system coming from controlled
repositories such as Debian's (even if it's the "non-free" one).

To make matters worse, in 2016 it is perfectly possible to use the
browser or a messaging program to use with non-free services, many
selling your data; play non-free-games; emulate DOS or MAME machines
within the browser; or or visit websites with non-free JS; or many other
problems that FSF is rightly concerned about.  The distro is not the
biggest channel through which these "dangers" come, but the network,
which is the same for all distros.

So I think the position of the FSF is hypocritical in this respect, but
specially shortsighted / outdated / ineffective, and focusing on trivia
while ignoring big and relevant problems.

  ============================================
  #2: "There is also a “contrib” repository; its packages are free, but
  some of them exist to load separately distributed proprietary
  programs. This too is not thoroughly separated from the main Debian
  distribution."
  ============================================

RMS famously believes that it's not crucial if games have non-free data,
and one of the links that you post below says:

  "It does not include artistic works that have an aesthetic (rather
  than functional) purpose, or statements of opinion or judgment".

Well, this is one of the cases for "contrib": if the game engine is free
but requires non-free data, goes to "contrib"; if it can be used with
fully-free data goes to the "main" archive.

  ============================================
  #3: "Previous releases of Debian included nonfree blobs with Linux,
  the kernel. With the release of Debian 6.0 (“squeeze”) in February
  2011, these blobs have been moved out of the main distribution to
  separate packages in the nonfree repository. However, the problem
  partly remains: the installer in some cases recommends these nonfree
  firmware files for the peripherals on the machine."
  ============================================

Since the users are warned about the non-freeness of the firmware, they
can make their own choice.  In some cases the firmware is necessary for
their machines to work correctly (incl. updates to the microcode of the
processor, unfortunately), in other cases they can opt-out of using the
firmware and using a wifi-dongle instead which operates without or with
free firmware, for example.

In the majority of cases, users (tech-savvy or not) are better off if
the updates to such carefully controlled and very limited set of
packages come through Debian than if they have to chase them up around
the net from multiple vendors and websites.

But in any case, the warnings are there, so the FSF position on this is
unnecessarily condescending.

And given that GNU started off and still actively supports their
packages working on non-free systems, I cannot see what's the
fundamental difference by which is bad for Debian to enable the use of
free software in non-free hardware but good for GNU to support Solaris
or Windows, for example, and create proprietary executables and enable
other non-free software, and continue/extend its use by virtue of the
network effects.  The reason for LGPL it's "strategic", in the case of
Debian doing the same is bad.  Hum, double standards.

>On using non-free software:
>
>"What would be unacceptable is for the documentation to give people
>instructions for installing a nonfree program on the system, or mention
>conveniences they might gain by doing so."
>
>http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-
>guidelines.html#documentation
>
>So, again, the problem might be that since Debian documentation, such as the
>Debian Wiki which bears an increasing amount of responsibility for documenting
>the distribution, mentions how to install non-free software, this might count
>against Debian itself being regarded as a certified distro. They do mention
>this, though:
>
>"For a borderline case, a clear and serious exhortation not to use the nonfree
>program would move it to the acceptable side of the line."
>
>I guess this would require editorial practices not currently undertaken plus
>some discipline from people contributing to the documentation.

I think that it would be much more easy/productive to go and edit the
Debian wiki in those cases than create full distributions, and that the
Debian people would even be grateful.

Otherwise, I don't follow every corner of the wiki, but there are many
cases already with the big warnings:

  https://wiki.debian.org/skype

Compare with (not the only one):

  https://www.fsf.org/working-together/gang

"Software for viewing YouTube videos" (non-free service), "Java" (with
some bits of the stack problematic for many years, I don't know lately),
or Mozilla which allows non-free add-ons and codecs, and the page
(sanctioned by FSF staff, not even volunteers) without any warning at
all that these can harm your freedom.

>On providing non-free software:
>
>"The system should have no repositories for nonfree software and no specific
>recipes for installation of particular nonfree programs."
>
>http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html#license-
>rules
>
>This is the big obstacle. I suppose Trisquel and gNewSense get around this by
>hosting their own repositories and not hosting the non-free ones.

Which is probably ineffective with the case of program's plugins, for
example; and it glosses over the fact that users sometimes will be
forced to find their way to install what they need with very suboptimal
consequences because the whole computer will not work otherwise.

BTW, the FSF recommend F-Droid (of which I am very happy user and
donator) even if they contain many apps that can solely be used with
non-free services (e.g. Telegram) and are not separated in different
repos or are not difficult to enable:

  http://www.fsf.org/working-together/next-steps/free-software-for-android

  https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/android-market-has-drm-too

or an interview, without asking/mentioning anything about non-free
services:

  https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/interview-with-ciaran-gultnieks-of-f-droid

So I don't understand why it's more problematic to enable non-free for
firmware that your processor needs to operate, or non-free data for a
game, than to install a program that can only be used to access non-free
services or share your data.

>I can understand why the FSF wants to help users avoid the slippery slope of
>doing what random people on the Internet suggest, enabling various
>repositories for a quick fix when some proprietary service doesn't work, and
>then seeing those people fill their systems with dubious and potentially
>stability-damaging software, not to mention that it would be non-free and
>could have negative effects on their freedoms and, through network effects, on
>others' freedoms.

I agree, and that's exactly one of the things that Debian non-free repos
achieve: to have a central place where key pieces that many people will
need with today's state of hardware and things, and which is in general
much safer than any other 3rd party repos.

If the users installing Trisquel or gNewSense need those non-free bits
for any reason, they would be better off from any point of view if they
enable the non-free repos provided by Debian (or if they had installed
Debian in the first place).  The alternative, which is to go to
Intel's/nvidia/broadcom/whatever website, is much worse in most cases.

>The result might be that if anyone does try and pitch a certified distro, it
>ends up being a small one that doesn't offer the breadth of something like
>Debian because of the magnitude of the diversion from whatever goal the people
>doing it originally had. In this case, how much effort should be diverted away
>from getting the hardware and software done towards rebranding, repacking and
>hosting something that is essentially Debian?

My reply to this question is clear: acknowledging that the information
and separation in Debian is enough, move on, and try to spend the
energies in solving the real problems, e.g. supporting free hardware
initiatives :)

Since things like de-blobbing the kernel (as Phil pointed out) come from
Debian people, the existence of Debian is a great positive for
free-software-loving users, and the only reason why derivatives as those
blessed by FSF can even exist.

So I always find this hostility towards Debian very unnecessary and
annoying (as it can be gauged by the length of my reply :P).

>I really think that the different parties should just get together and develop
>a reasonable understanding around these matters based on the substantial level
>of agreement they probably already have.

There are people trying actively to resolve this, and John Sullivan
(exec director) is a Debian Developer and participated in the last 2
DebConfs with talks related with this.

But I feel that the historical decisions that made them not recommend
Debian are holding them in the same position, while they obviate the
same problems when applied to new things like F-Droid and the same
practical problems with Trisquel and gNewSense, or their own software
packages.

Cheers.
--

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eoma68-jz4775 x-ray pictures

http://rhombus-tech.net/ingenic/jz4775/news/

this is totally cool, photos of the x-ray machine and the DDR3 and
jz4775 SoC.  of the six samples made, only one did not have bridging
between the DDR3 ICs, so i asked the factory if they'd like to get
some experience at sorting out BGA ICs, which they did - here's the
results, and they look great.

l.

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Gmane