everything wrong with free software

 "obedience breeds foolishness"

### [generate-title] other pages: [[why-bsd]] | *originally posted:* feb 2021 yep, muckrights covered it first-- [lit]http://techrights.org/2021/02/02/microsoft-pi/[lit] they often do. i remember years ago, when the spy was unreleased to the public and everybody wanted one. at the time i didnt have a screen that would connect to it (neither composite nor hdmi) though i thought the idea had potential. i spoke to one of their reps, with concerns about the non-free crap needed to boot, and as is typical with such concerns, he was rude and condescending. i said i would never buy one. i think its been about a decade now, but ive still never purchased one. other sbcs have come and gone, but i get most of my hardware secondhand. yes, when there is a really, really good option, sometimes i will support a platform like the lemote laptop richard stallman used to carry. i had one of those. more hardware comes to me for cheap or for free, and a year or two ago someone with a spy they didnt use anymore, decided to drop one in my lap. i felt a bit vindicated-- here i was with a spy to finally try out, and i didnt pay a dime. of course if there was a better company behind it, id probably own a few of them at this time. ive generally leaned on the side of critique when it comes to the spy, and ive waited for a chance to own (or even buy used) a better example of an sbc. it hasnt happened yet, though the thing about used hardware is that the more popular a thing is, the more likely you are to find one cheaply. with things like wifi adapters-- i dont normally use wifi adapters actually, but ive always had one or two that work with free drivers and firmware. ive continually leaned towards both free drivers and firmware, but there have been a few setbacks: ([[how-free-can-you-be]]). with regards to non-free software, my advice in general is to remove it-- and to help facilitate fully-free distros with no non-free drivers or firmware. of course in the world of sbcs, progress is slow on this front. when muckrights reported that stallman was making progress with the raspberry spy people, i took it as a good sign for both stallman (hes still fighting) and for the future of the spy. even the cynic in me didnt guess that upton would revert to the typical apathetic douchebag again in a few weeks, but i suppose i should have. hes certainly not a guy who cares about your freedom. when i got my free spy-- note that this years-old thing was not in any way a gift from a corporation, in fact i was pleased to note the amount of cat fur on it was minimal (i know the former owner). i promptly tried to install devuan on it, and when that failed i went for raspying os. at the time i dont think it was raspying yet. let me walk you through this decision-- i was told it *might* already have an os on the sd card. it didnt. my first step was to boot the thing. *ive never booted an sbc before*. my first goal was to watch it boot, try a few programs on it, and-- actually i lost interest in it in a few days. that is not /entirely/ the spys fault. the sbc form factor is exciting in many ways, and frankly boring in others. i dont mean to disparage sbcs-- i frequently (and sincerely) talk about how they are the future of computing. at least an important part of the future. at least i think they probably are. in a perfect world, sbcs would be utterly crap-free. and given that its considerably cheaper to make an sbc compared to a laptop, i think there is still real potential there. im excited about risc-v. im sad that everybody (spy, odroid, risc-v) is still in love with microsoft github-- and thats part of the reason i dont sound excited. a higher priority than playing with an old spy (i got it to boot, i ran a few things on it-- including my favourite programming language) is to catalogue and remove github-encumbered things from my computer. and ultimately that took me towards bsd. as i often say, ([[why-bsd]]) gnu[lit]/[lit]linux is a lost cause. its controlled by microsoft and its getting worse, not better. bsd on the other hand, is *demonstrably forkable*. this means its not just the license that makes it forkable, but the project itself. so with linux demonstrating the importance of that (even torvalds says he doesnt know how linux works at this point) and its relevance to freedom 3, *free software needs forkable code to keep its promise*. i dont mean free software needs great code, or ready-to-use code, i dont mean only good software is free software-- what i do mean is that when the author of linux cant fork it, and it is taken over and controlled (from several different angles) by corporations in a way that shows no hope of ever being forkable again-- that software is "*free in license only*". and make no mistake-- *the license is what makes it free software*. you put software you write under a free license, its free software. piece of cake, and youre there. lots of people try to overcomplicate this process in concern-trollish ways, inventing or emulating regulatory capture for the free software world. its cynical and stupid. but there is a *legitimate* second step to free software: *keeping it free*-- otherwise known as *vigilance*. *no license in the world is a substitute for vigilance*. and with the gnu project, there is (to put it nicely) insufficient vigilance keeping it from harm and from being co-opted by monopolies. when you dont know a soul on earth who can fork linux, you need to find another option for the future of the gnu project. seriously-- linux is owned by ibm and microsoft now. werent they the same people we spent years escaping control of? and i realise this is *a bit* different from the goals of gnu originally, but if ibm and microsoft are good enough stewards, *why cant we just use windows?* (im not suggesting it. its definitely rhetorical). putting monopolies in charge of freedom is just like putting foxes in charge of the hen house. so raspberry spy has done with their repos, sneaking redmond surveillance into their platform. *and fortunately this is only on the software level*. in the future, more and more problems are going to be in firmware, and this is all the more reason to get feet on the ground with sbcs (not /necessarily/ the spy) so by the time we are liberating them, we are already familiar. but for the moment, the problem is *raspberry spy os*. make no mistake, the raspberry spy "foundation" is *also* part of the problem. and thats why you probably shouldnt buy anything from them anytime soon. however, since the first week i booted my own spy, it has remained fairly dormant except that during my migration to bsd, i tried to put bsd on it. it turns out, based on research being done by people with more experience and hardware talent than i have-- bsd really is (relatively speaking) a pain to get running on a spy. and by "bsd" i am pretty exclusively referring to netbsd and (preferably) openbsd. openbsd is the cleanest, most forkable bsd there is. i really have very little interest even putting freebsd on the spy, because freebsd already develops their package manager on github-- there are other problems with them. openbsd on the spy? it solves the raspberry spying problem, more decisively and entirely than simply removing the malware from raspberry spy os. and unlike raspberry spy os, it is not based on the unforkable, microsoft-controlled linux kernel-- or the unforkable, ibm-controlled systemd. so if you already own a spy, and youre trying to do something with it other than use it as a dust collector, youre probably better off ditching raspberry spy os, as ive already done. my own spy has netbsd on it, but of course it wont run because the version of netbsd on the sd card is for the x86-- i tried the arm version first. its only "on the spy" in the sense that its where i store the sd card. but if you dont already own a spy, like i havent for most of a decade, i certainly wouldnt purchase one right now. the most likely purpose of this *spyware* is polling usage data (im not the first to say it) and the foundation is almost certainly "selling" (in a loose but hardly meaningless sense of the word) that data about you without your knowledge or consent. they deserve the backlash. a boycott of spy products is a very good idea. if in the near future, you find me sharing instructions for getting bsd on the spy, its for those who already have one. at least it will remove *both* the spying, as well as the microsoft linux kernel. if you dont already own one, seriously-- *you can do better*. get any other brand first, theres nothing special about the spy at all. i still dont have a real use for mine-- and it isnt a priority to find one. home: [lit]https://wrongwithfreesw.neocities.org[lit]