The FSF (Free Software Foundation) is expanding beyond its software boundaries, and reaching out to hardware vendors to encourage them to “work with the free software community” to establish a “mutually beneficial relationship.” Its all spelled out in a just-published white paper.
On March 1, the FSF released “The Road to Hardware Free from Restrictions,” written by Justin Baugh and Ward Vandewege, senior systems administrators for the FSF. In it, they detail ways for major hardware manufacturers to work with free software for the benefit of both interest groups.
In the past, the FSF has restricted itself primarily to software issues. This is a new focus for the venerable free software group.
Specifically, the FSF is recommending that manufacturers take action in five areas:
- Support free software drivers
- End the “Microsoft Tax”
- Remove proprietary BIOS locks
- Support a free BIOS
- Reject DRM (aka “Digital Restrictions Management”)
In a statement, Peter Brown, FSF executive director, said, “With the growing utilization of free software and the rejection of Microsofts Vista, large vendors like HP, Dell, Lenovo and Sun have the opportunity and responsibility to acknowledge the market for hardware suitable for free software users—hardware that meets ethical requirements for user freedom, privacy and security.
“We hope that this paper will focus attention on what needs to get done in the coming months.”