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CameronNemo wrote

Big tech avoids GPL because they want to benefit from volunteer work without having any obligation to the community they benefit from. The biggest obstacles for lay users to use free software are:

  1. Inconvenience of free software, particularly its integration with proprietary networks and hardware.

  2. Low tolerance for inconvenience by lay people. They sell their attention for convenience on a regular basis, by watching ads and propagandized television programming.

The second group is a lost cause. They just want to sit on their couch and watch a whitewashed, watered down, dramatized version of real life trauma. Pain is entertainment to them.

For the first group, we can improve on boarding and integration experiences for people who already have hardware and preferred social networks, but more importantly we must build and participate in FOSS networks and hardware.

When you purchase new hardware for yourself or others, consider how much nonfree software has to go into it. Are there kernel drivers upstream? Is the firmware open source or do you need blobs? How do those details factor into the overall experience and sustainability of the hardware? I think many of us have owned android devices that never saw notable updates, and now regret buying those devices.

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nulloperation wrote (edited )

The second group is a lost cause.

Not sure. Recent Gnome Desktop releases are quite polished and MacOS-like, which I think helps people with that inconvenience.

When you purchase new hardware for yourself or others, consider how much nonfree software has to go into it.

An easy and practical way of doing this is to bring a Debian live bootable USB drive and ask to try it out on the device before you purchase it, because it's not really something you can ask staff at a tech shop: "Is the driver for the wireless card for this laptop releases under a free / libre license?"

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CameronNemo wrote

The desktop is polished, but can they use MS office? And outlook? Can they run iTunes and iCloud to sync their photos from their phone?

Lack of integration with services like that is exactly what many lazy people will not tolerate. They would rather have ads on their home screen and an OS that tracks them to optimize those ads.

bring a Debian live bootable USB drive and ask to try it out on the device before you purchase it

Have you ever done that? I would bet 0 laptops being sold in a shop today would have working WiFi without firmware blobs. Is there a single 802.11ac capable chipset that is blob free? Not that I know of, and ax is popping up these days.

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nulloperation wrote

but can they use MS office? And outlook?

Yes, they can.

Can they run iTunes and iCloud to sync their photos from their phone?

I was recently syncing photos off an iphone and icloud off Debian. Works fine.

bring a Debian live bootable USB drive

Have you ever done that?

Yes. Second-hand laptop shops where they are more patient.

I would bet 0 laptops being sold in a shop today would have working WiFi without firmware blobs.

There are some. I've run Trisquel on a random second-hand laptop with wifi. Atheros made some wifi drivers free. I usually go for Debian + nonfree firmware though, because usually the non-free wifi drivers work fine.

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CameronNemo wrote

I really wish your last link was more discoverable. Those ath9k chipsets are not particularly common, especially in newer hardware. Most people want 5 GHz and ac/ax functionality.

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nulloperation wrote

Yea, it was on an older 32-bit laptop. We need more free wifi drivers.

I think that Debian with non-free wifi driver is an improvement over Windoze though.

Going back to the GPL, it was actually effective in getting Linksys to publish their code leading to the creation of the OpenWRT Linux distro for routers.

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