To Hell With Non-Free Software

It’s clear that a lot of IT hardware is being supplied to consumers and organizations with built-in malware, stuff that spies on us and supplies people like NSA with information we don’t want them to have. Ironically, we actually subsidize this activity with our money either by taxation or the purchase-price. Sign the petition to end this crap! Above all, use Free Software. It’s in your best interests. Software: choose before you pay, sign petition!

Computers in the post-Snowden era: choose before paying!
The revelations from Edward Snowden concerning massive surveillance of communications demonstrates the need for each person to be able to control their computers and phones.
Yet computer and telephone manufacturers and retailers typically impose on users programs that jeopardise their privacy.
Each person should therefore have the opportunity to refuse to pay for non-Free software, and be allowed to choose the programs that run on their telephone and computer.
Today, joins other organisations throughout the world in requesting an unfettered choice of the operating system on telephones, laptops and other computing devices.
Sign the international petition!
Further information.
Do you want help in promoting this petition? Visit

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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16 Responses to To Hell With Non-Free Software

  1. ram says:

    oiaohm, thanks for those webpage links!

    I have a printed ASUS server catalog and in fact use some of their “server” motherboards to run Debian Squeeze in a cluster configuration. I do like the number and speed of ASUS’s PCI-E slots. Plug in a few NVidia CUDA cards in SLI mode and you are really talking some “grunt” (many tens of GFLOPS).
    Full out with liquid cooling and the latest high end cards would very likely go into the hundreds of GFLOPS (in a single “workstation” sized box).

  2. oiaohm wrote, “Yes there are New motherboards out there that are not Windows 8 or 7 Certified by ASUS.”

    Chuckle: “Due to changes in the operating system, the models listed below offer Windows 8 compatible drivers only. Please note that specific Windows 8 features such as Fast Boot and Boot Setting may not be available.”

  3. oiaohm says:
    Found my bookmarks ram. Yes this is kinda insane that you have to know exactly what web page to find the information.

    Notice us Linux users get a downloadable PDF. This page is completely a laugh. Most of those boards don’t in fact support windows yet Windows Certified is printed everywhere.

    Yes there are New motherboards out there that are not Windows 8 or 7 Certified by ASUS.

  4. oiaohm says:‎

    ram Asus does not make it fun to find out what motherboards are supported by Linux. Asus is also strict Maxuims V Extreme is not listed because it has a thunderbolt port that Linux kernel does not support. Yes every feature of the motherboard has to work or it is not listed as Linux compatible by ASUS.

    By the way you ring ASUS up you tell them you using a Linux Server or are wanting to make a Linux server. If you say Linux Desktop they get really rude and say they don’t support LInux Desktop. Yes change 1 word change if they give you the link to the current Linux supporting motherboards or not.

    Ram yes I know ASUS makes a lot of great Linux motherboards but their website and support staff are likely pulling teeth to find out what ones work.

  5. dougman says:

    Integrate the blog with DISCUS / FACEBOOK.

  6. kurkosdr wrote, “is it possible to get an edit button?”

    I don’t think so. WP is poor at dealing with SPAM and if we allowed edits, a commentator could get past the SPAM filter and then edit in whatever crap he wanted. What if there were 1K comments between the comment getting in and when the SPAM was inserted… ewww! It could work if I allowed individual accounts. That’s feasible with current active commentators but I’m retired and wouldn’t want to police hundreds of users.

  7. ram says:

    It would be nice if ASUS would advertise those features you describe more widely.
    I could find nothing on their website indicating their recent motherboards would run Linux, not even a Microsoft UEFI pseudo-Linux such as Ubuntu.

  8. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr at times if you like it or not you are forced to take what ever is on the shelf. It is a time thing. It takes less than 2 hours to convert a compatible laptop after you get past the UEFI.

    ASUS is making some very nice UEFI motherboards these days would love to see some of there motherboard features in laptops.

    Fastboot switch on/off. When off enabled keyboard so you can keyboard key enter firmware. This is min.

    Directkey button. Basically power on that will enter bios no matter what. This is nice other than the fact you can disable this in bios. Direct key button from my point of view should always take you to bios even if it means you hit a password request.

    Finally from bios with no other software replace all the UEFI keys with your own if you wish. Yes places the replacement keys on a USB key.

    These ASUS boards are not a major problem to Linux users. Yes turning off the UEFI secure boot but using UEFI bootloaders in place also works on ASUS boards cleanly.

    ASUS is truly putting the owner of the hardware in-control. I want to see this from more vendors.

  9. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr A Ubuntu LTS version only offers to upgrade to the next release LTS version. LTS install skips offering upgrades for anything that is not LTS.

    There is 2 years between LTS versions and they are supported for 5 years. Driver issues and bugs are found by the non LTS versions.

  10. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr if you buy a laptop from dell or hp with Ubuntu installed it is the LTS version. Dell does not provide support for the non LTS version. Sorry OEM’s are smart enough to use versions of Ubuntu and Mint that don’t suffer from the I upgrade all the time and break. The breaking of video card drivers don’t happen in the LTS versions.

    kurkosdr dell sells huge versions of ubuntu LTS into china and other places. Basically you keep on bring up a issue OEM’s with Linux are not suffering from.

    Even with redhat from OEM is only pre-install the LTS versions.

    Dell Ubuntu LTS default repository server is Dell not Ubuntu main repository.

    Sorry Ubuntu and Mint both do support minor-ally customised versions. Its up to the OEM if they wish to use Ubuntu’s own central repository or not.

    Shuttleworth has picked all of the below.
    LTS version(without backports)
    LTS + Ubuntu Backports.
    LTS + Ubuntu Backports + PPA repositories
    Non-LTS versions shorted lived.

    LTS versions are the only ones Ubuntu validates binary drivers against. LTS items is all OEM use of Ubuntu.

    Why OEM’s don’t offer very much Linux is not the driver breakages. DKMS

    kurkosdr basically stop being a troll and go buy a Dell or HP or read the Ubuntu certification site.

    Yes a HP Desktop shipping with Ubuntu installed. Spend a little white going from item to item and notice only LTS versions of Ubuntu. Everyone complaining about video driver breaking on upgrade are running non LTS versions.

    Now if you were complaining about poor battery life due to broken hibernate you would have a point kurkosdr. You would have known this if you had done your homework.

  11. kurkosdr says:

    that don’t have Linux pre-installed = that don’t have Windows pre-installed

    (is it possible to get an edit button?)

  12. kurkosdr says:

    “With UEFI it is extremely difficult to “roll your own” even for seasoned IT professionals.”

    Then buy a machine with Linux pre-installed. Nobody “forces” you to buy Windows. You can argue about promotion or lack of variety, but truth is, there are options if you don’t want a machine with Windows pre-installed. There is no “tax”.

    PS: I think “locked boot” is evil too. Doesn’t change the fact you can buy PCs that don’t have Windows pre-installed if you want to.

  13. ram says:

    With UEFI it is extremely difficult to “roll your own” even for seasoned IT professionals. Google Chromebooks can be converted into thin clients, larger machines wind up being server board based.

  14. kurkosdr says:

    when an OEMs = when an OEM

  15. kurkosdr says:

    I don’t get it when Linuxeros talk about the Microsoft “tax”. Linuxeros’ explanation is that Windows comes pre-installed on every laptop and desktop, and hence you pay for it whether you wanted to have Windows or not.

    But… wait a minute, there are laptops and desktop out there with Linux pre-installed. Or sold blank (or with FreeDOS). Can’t people who don’t want Windows buy these? You can whine about the fact PCs with Linux pre-installed are not being promoted enough or about the lack of variety, look mommy those evil OEMs will not offer a linux option for every model (as if somehow it’s their obligation to), but you CAN’T talk about a “microsoft tax”, because nobody obligates you to pay for a Windows license when you buy new machine. You can avoid it if you want. A true “tax” is, for example, the tax you pay on every blank DVD or CD you buy, which goes to the content cartels. Because you can’t buy a blank DVD or CD from a store without paying for said tax. This, my friends, is what a tax (or more accurately, a levy) really is.

    Oh, and you know why OEMs won’t offer many laptops or desktops with Linux pre-installed? Because the moment Ubuntu or Mint kindly asks the user to upgrade and the user clicks yes, the upgrade will break the proprietary GPU driver, leaving him stranded on a black screen or CLI, which will result in the support benches getting clogged by angry users demanding repairs.

    In fact, some “Linux PCs” don’t actually come with Linux pre-installed, you must install it yourself. This is done so that everything that happens later is technically your responsibility. See, when an OEMs pre-installs stuff, it’s responsible for it.

    And BTW, the reason why Android is sucessful is because Google made Android to not upgrade directly from Google (for non-Nexus devices), but from the OEM’s servers, so the OEM can check for breakages before releasing the upgrade. This is also why Windows doesn’t ask you directly to upgrade to a new version. Any breakages you will have during the upgrade is your fault.

    If Linux wants pre-installs, they either have to make sure proprietary GPU drivers aren’t broken during upgrades, or not urge users to upgrade and embrace backporting (aka what Windows and Android do). Shuttleworth, pick one, please.

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