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Are You Using A Fully Free OS?

Submitted by josefStallman in freeAsInFreedom

This doesn't necessarily mean a FSF-Cetified distro. LibertyBSD is fully free and isn't on their list, as is Hyperbola. Debian can be made to be fully free (and is by default), Fedora can be made to use linux-libre with a few easy scripts, rendering it fully free, Gentoo and Funtoo can use linux-libre, etc.

If you are, what have you given up for the sake of freedom? If you're not, what's stopping you?

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5

alqm wrote (edited )

I'm running Debian with non-free enabled. I know, I know. But I really can't stop playing a specific addictive first person shooter created by Valve Corp. I guess we all have some weaknesses. Every once and a while I nuke Debian and try some less known distro that will make it harder for me to install Steam, or won't run Steam at all. But the thing is... I get really sad when I can't play. And I slip into depression again. I'm working on it. I've been trying to play some free arena shooters, such as Xonotic, OpenArena, etc. But they really don't have the same effect on me, they don't entertain me as much as the proprietary one, which has online gaming with low latency, lots of players and competitive matches.

Fortunately, Debian didn't need to install any proprietary drivers for wifi or other components. Does this mean that I'm clean of proprietary drivers? What about the so-called "binary blobs" that enable hardware support? Are they in Debian's kernel too?

I'd like to use Libreboot too, but it's only for a few old devices.

EDIT: Anything else I do is with free software. When it comes to proprietary software, I am extra careful to only install what I really need (Steam only at the moment), otherwise I think my system is polluted and I reinstall to clean it up.

2

josefStallman wrote

Debian uses their own deblobbed kernel, so if it didn't have to install any blobs for wifi drivers, you should be free and clear. You can test with vrms though.

3

alqm wrote

How about when Debian asks you to install a proprietary driver for a component such as the Realtek card reader, but you deny it, and still the card reader works normally? What is it using to make it work? I have another Dell laptop that does that.

4

fturco wrote

I use Gentoo Linux, which unfortunately is not 100% free. But I avoid installing proprietary software on my systems. And I manually deblob the kernel.

3

josefStallman wrote

If you've manually deblobbed the kernel, then you should be fully free, actually. Just because you have the option to install non-free software doesn't mean it's not a fully free OS, it just means the FSF won't certify it as such.

4

downwitheclown1945 wrote

Running Arch, what stops me from going to parabola or something like that is... I don't know, laziness? I'm becoming more of a fs zealot as time goes on but I still dig convenience.

My process was something like -- never installed linux successfully til 2009-10ish -> ubuntu user -> mint because unity sucks -> constant distro hopping -> wait I want new packages and debian is confusing -> manjaro -> wait AUR breaks in manjaro -> arch -> oh wow arch is easy and fun -> i'm going to rice my setup for six months -> everything's how I like it. Now two or three years have gone by... I don't know how much of a pain it would be to install your-freedom or whatever it is.

I certainly will never install windows baremetal on one of my machines ever again. That's the most important thing to me.

1

josefStallman wrote

Well if you're already using arch, it's fairly simple to migrate to parabola, but you'd have to give up the AUR, and it might break some hardware compatibility.

4

zombie_berkman wrote

All of my servers except for my unifi controller are fully free according to vrms. My laptop has a non free WiFi blob, and my desktop has steam and Nvidia blob.

4

[deleted] wrote (edited )

2

GrimWillow wrote

Heads? Is that a freer alternative to Tails? How can I find out more about the proprietary software Tails is using? It surprises me that they would considering it is a security OS and proprietary software is a potential backdoor in every case AFAIK.

2

josefStallman wrote

Tails uses the regular linux kernel to improve hardware compatibility. The linux kernel includes some non-free drivers to ensure that things like wifi cards and some storage media work properly. Heads uses the linux-libre kernel, which removes the non-free blobs from the regular linux kernel.

3

GrimWillow wrote

Thanks for the Heads up! ;)

I looked up "Heads Live OS" and "Heads OS" to no avail.

Eventually I found a link by mentioning linux libre in the search, for anyone else looking for the link:

https://heads.dyne.org/

4

[deleted] wrote (edited )

3

bailsafe wrote

I'm the same way. As a web and graphic designer, the free alternatives out there just aren't as powerful as Sketch or Affinity for me yet.

4

boringskip wrote

Now that Intel ME is hacked, I'm hoping to get a fully libre Lenovo soon. The current ones are too underpowered.

3

surreal wrote

nvidia driver cause mesa makes me cry and steam.

3

W36GWSWGW2SQ5EX6ZKM5 wrote

No. My laptop requires non-free drivers for Wifi and Brightness controls. I've been wanting to get a new laptop because of this.

3

crzb wrote

No, I use Ubuntu.

3

josefStallman wrote

Ubuntu, by default, actually ships with the deblobbed debian kernel. When you install it, it asks if you want non-free 3-rd party software. If you said yes, then it will install non-free drivers.

3

goatman93 wrote

In the past when I was much more of a purist with regards to software, yes. Currently that's a different story though.

Where I do most of my computing: yes. No need for proprietary drivers or software on my servers and Debian default makes it real easy to not only have a fully free userland but a fully free kernel as well.

Where I use a computer: mostly, and I'm even considering having less machines running Linux. Since I do most of my computing on my servers, I now only need a stable machine that I run ssh on to a remote computer. More and more that need is being fulfilled by my GPD Pocket 7 which runs Windows 10.

Why Windows 10? I like not having to worry about a driver update breaking Xorg, or my wireless card going down for whatever reason. My personal time is getting more and more limited and I'd rather do rewarding things with my time rather than trying to play "figure out what package broke the entire OS". I've run Linux on the desktop and my laptops for years and I'm trying to take a break from it. When you do sysadmin tasks for 8+ hours a day at $dayjob you tend to not want to do it when you come home :)

3

Copenhagen_Bram wrote (edited )

I use Parabola. This might be a hardware issue, but sadly I think I've given up the prospect of using a graphics card that'll run flightgear at a good framerate, with atmospheric light scattering enabled.

I also give up using UTAU, a nonfree singing synthesis program for Windows. But I'm looking into compiling QTAU. Or running UTAU on Wine.

2

jadedctrl wrote

Yep-- I run LBSD on my computers and serve (of course, jajaja), and dual boot my PCs with Parabola. Great systems, don't really have a need for the non-free stuff. =w=

2

happysmash27 wrote

The only reason my system isn't completely free is a few binary blobs for drivers and a few random proprietary programs, all of which except for Minecraft (although I love the alternatives, they just don't have the mod support yet nor the charm) aren't actually used that often. Also, why go crazy on free software when I have that pesky Intel ME backdoor anyway? I will only have a truly free system once my computer has open source hardware as well, and I will stop at nothing to get it.

2

4t0m wrote

No, because I'm lazy. I use arch on everything but my desktop. My desktop is set up for gaming buuuuuuuuut I did some tests a few months ago and I was able to set up a GPU passthrough through a windows VM so I'm going to switch as soon as I get another monitor.

Oh and I have to not be lazy.

1

goatman93 wrote

I wanted to do a GPU passthrough from a Linux host to a Windows machine, but I ended up just throwing Win10 on my desktop at home. Laziness was the main reason, and I didn't want to try to troubleshoot shit at home.

I'll probably get around to doing it one of these days but it's low on my list of priorities.

2

ziq wrote (edited )

I'm using KDE Neon (non free codecs/drivers disabled). I want support for retropie, Plex, emby, mame and even though I uninstalled it, I'd like to know there's Steam support.

Is there a FOSS distro that can do all that?

1

josefStallman wrote

If you've disabled and uninstalled all the free drivers, then technically you're running a fully free distro.

1

ziq wrote

Doesn't it use an unfree Kernel tho? With binary blobs that can't be removed?

3

josefStallman wrote

Long story short (to my understanding), no, it shouldn't be. The only nonfree parts of the linux kernel are the drivers, which can be managed by the package manager. If you've removed them, you should be ok. You can test that with vrms.

2

Defasher wrote

A tutorial to convert any Ubuntu based dustro into a free distro would be very welcome.

1

autonomous_hippopotamus wrote

Nope, i need proprietary graphics and other driver blobs for wifi, the webcam etc. Also a few proprietary apps i run, for IDE's and whatever. I also run some windows (aaaah) games in wine...

Once i get a librebootable computer i'll be able to pull it off, but not now. I think it's a little rediculous to expect people to run that type of thing, knowing damn well that it is nearly impossible, or at least incredibly inconvenient for most people to do that.