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Re: Software that requires hardware that requires nonfree software to us

From: Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli
Subject: Re: Software that requires hardware that requires nonfree software to use
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2021 19:27:27 +0200

On Fri, 08 Oct 2021 16:40:52 -0400
Ian Kelling <> wrote:

> Ron Nazarov <> writes:
> > Is software that requires hardware that requires nonfree software to
> > use allowed in the Free Software Directory?
> > I think it indirectly has dependencies on nonfree software, as
> > there is no way to use it without using nonfree software.
> I think that if the nonfree software is outside of the bounds of the
> free operating system that the free software is running on, it is ok
> to be listed. For example, some software to do printing from
> gnu/linux on a printer that has it's own internal nonfree os is ok.
This makes sense as even the RYF computers running Libreboot have some
nonfree software in them that falls into the exceptions allowed by the
RYF certification.

For instance:
- There are nonfree firmwares in almost all mass storage
  devices like hard disks, SSD, microSD or SD cards, USB keys, etc.
- The keyboards present in the Libreboot Thinkpads are controlled by a
  nonfree firmware that also can set some voltage on or off, handles
  the battery charging, etc. Maybe the trackpad is also controlled by a
  nonfree firmware.
- There may be other minor firmwares in the hardware like for the
  the touchscreen when there is one, the SD card reader on Thinkpads
  with the GM45 chipset, etc.

And in some case a given software that interact with nonfree software
that is out of the bounds of the operating system (like the
thinkpad_acpi driver) can also be made to work with fully free
replacements like Libreboot.


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