FSF adds PureOS to list of endorsed GNU/Linux distributions

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davidpgil
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chaosmonk

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I was curious to see if Purism had started conflating this with their non-free hardware yet. They don't yet mention the FSF endorsement, but I had forgotten just how slimy they are.

https://puri.sm/products/librem-15/

No mention of the fact that only the OS is free. They don't even disclose what BIOS it uses. (Last I heard it was Coreboot.) And I love sentences like these:

"Every hardware and software component—and everything we do—is in line with our belief in respecting your rights to privacy, security, and freedom."

They don't say "Every hardware and software component respects your rights to privacy, security, and freedom." because that wouldn't be true, but unless you read very carefully that's how you would interpret it.

"The first 15.6″ laptop designed to protect your digital life" is great too. Let's act like this product is the first of its kind because similar products have different dimensions.

"Purism Key: A powerful key to search your computer and applications" It's literally just a WIN key with a rectangle on it instead. Not a freedom issue, but come on.

"Every hardware chip individually selected with emphasis on freedom-respecting"

Again, they don't say "Every hardware chip freedom-respecting" because that wouldn't be a true, but if you didn't know anything about Purism and had no context you'd read it that way.

"Comes with the most rights-respecting operating system" Pure OS is FSF-endorsed, but how is it *more* rights-respecting than other FSF-endorsed distros?

"The first high-end 15″ laptop that respects your privacy, security, and freedom." Here they start to border on explicitly lying. "Respects your freedom" to many people has a specific meaning that does does not apply to this product.

The end. No where in the entire page do they disclose that this is not a libre product, and every sentence is carefully crafted to mislead the reader into thinking that it is. What a scam.

chaosmonk

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It's a shame, because if they were upfront about the freedom issues with their products the way Technoethical is

https://tehnoetic.com/mobile-devices/tet-n2

I might recommend them to people who want a mostly libre system but are willing to make some compromises to have more modern hardware. Unfortunately, their lack of transparency makes them untrustworthy, and I could not direct people to them with a clear conscience.

FindEssential
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I'm more blunt when I am asked about them:

Purism = Slimeballs

Everything they do is just sudo-marketing double speak. Its like they all got high and just watched old videos of Steve Jobs for hours when they were coming up with how they would engage with the world.

All this in the shadow of other products that cost about half as much and meet the same standard without the slime. No thanks.

chaosmonk

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> Its like they all got high and just watched old videos of Steve Jobs for hours when they were coming up with how they would engage with the world.

Haha. That sums it up better.

davidpgil
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Why would the FSF endorse PureOS if Purism was creating a malicious distro? I don't understand your arguments.

chaosmonk

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You're confusing PureOS, which is libre and warrants FSF endorsement, with Librem laptops, which are not and do not. This is not your fault, but a result of Purism being intentionally misleading at every opportunity.

Takumi13
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I understand their arguments: They are envy! Because no one is more pure than them and their software whatever Os they are using!
I said in the past, and that's the main reason for me to leave Trisquel community that that thing of free software is just a concept, an ideal... In practical terms it's impossible to be totally free as it is impossible to be totally Good or Bad: total Impossible!
We are interdependent and conjugated with so many things in life that we could not say so, that we are free, that we are 100% goods and so on... It takes being very much credulous to believe in it! This obsession with the concept "free software" then degenerate very quickly to other fields, with people assuming very sect-alike and fanaticism behaviour. I always maintain: "free software" is just a concept, an ideal that doesn't meet the real world.
With that said and referring me to the topic: I am very content that FSF endorsed this OS. Anyway I think they always have to broaden their concept of "free software", and not be so picky on that,or they will not have a list any more in the future... I will try pureOS in one of my machines, or more sincerely I will buy another just to test this very interesting OS. This is

gnush
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It is quite strange. I realize PureOS has been a topic of discussion for a while regarding an addition to the gnu.org recommended gnu/linux distros, but there are so many free as in freedom distributions that I'm sure have been waiting approval at this point.

I also realize the difficulty in deeming a distribution 100% free as in freedom. It is likely quite a bit of work, and they probably don't have many people working on approving distributions.

I was also disappointed to see they are making the move from SysV init to systemd, but I am certainly pleased nonetheless to see that more free as in freedom gnu/linux distributions are being added to the list.

onpon4
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I don't think any other GNU distro is currently seeking endorsement.

Christianity
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Uruk and Hyperbola aren't?

gd_scania
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Uruk and Hyperbola are GNU systems surely, which they are surely committing for our philosophy for freedom.

gnush
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ConnochaetOS, Uruk, Hyperbola, CloverOS, Heads.

I haven't spoken with any of those developers in quite some time, especially ConnochaetOS, but I know the last time I did they were all seeking certification.

Clarification: I am not associated with the community, or development of any of the distributions I listed. I have simply heard at some point or another that all the distributions I listed were at some point seeking certification sometime within the past 3 years.

fbit

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Is there no page to see which distros have requested fsf endorsement? It would be good if there was a transparent "waiting list" which included the dates when each request was made.

gnush
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A page of that sort does not appear to exist, unfortunately.

calher

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A waiting list could be too easy to misconstrue as endorsement.

ryanpcmcquen
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FreeSlack is.

GrevenGull
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What is systemd? And why do you dislike it?

Magic Banana

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Please read the thread, which had better stay dead imho. The lengthy discussion about systemd start here: https://trisquel.info/forum/fsf-adds-pureos-list-endorsed-gnulinux-distributions?page=1#comment-125187

CalmStorm

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I agree, this thread should stay dead. This is the last time I will reply, for this reason...

however, I felt the need to point out, that the thread where I lost interest in fighting about systemd is, here:

read this comment from that thread if you have interest:

https://trisquel.info/en/forum/how-disableget-information-about-various-hardware-devices#comment-130771

ps, not just you am I saying this to, MagicBanana... but in general.

I hope I have been wrong about systemd though.

Actually, the last couple of comments in general will probably be enlightening.

davidpgil
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The FSF article states that Purisms hardware is still not approved. I think its just the reality of tryign to run a business that costs millions of dollars to keep afloat. They are AIMing to be pure and I think at least cleaning up the distro is a great step in showing that. Its generally quite difficult.impossible right now to create an appealing computer these days with fully open hardware - See EOMA68. I think the mainstream Linux world is trying to be Libre but they are also trying to survive so they can keep trying. I'm referring to System 76 and Purism basically.

chaosmonk

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> The FSF article states that Purisms hardware is still not approved.

Yes, the FSF was very clear. I wish that Purism were equally transparent.

> its just the reality of tryign to run a business that costs millions of dollars to keep afloat.

Minifree manages to survive selling only freedom respecting products. Technoethical sells some products that are not 100% libre, but they are extremely upfront about it so that potential customers are not mislead. Compare the Purism page I linked to to the Technoethical page I linked to.

> cleaning up the distro is a great step

It's Debian based. Once you remove the non-free and contrib repositories from Debian there is no more "cleaning up" to do as far as freedom goes.

> Its generally quite difficult.impossible right now to create an appealing computer these days with fully open hardware

That's why pretending to have free hardware is dangerous. Why would anyone support libreboot or EOMA68 if they don't understand why such efforts are necessary?

0d54770d

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Most of the criticism of Purism that I see on this forum is a textbook example of bikeshedding; rather than focusing efforts on criticizing the people who explicitly, knowingly, and unapologetically make and endorse proprietary software, those efforts are used to criticize a company about whom I can find no clear example of intentional fraud. Fraud is not saying something false; fraud is when you know that a statement is false, but proclaim it to be true anyway. If someone can point out a clear example of Purism doing that, please show me some documentation thereof.

And I don't mean an example of them promising something that they later determined they would be unable to deliver; only those who have been involved in the fabrication of any kind of computing device would be able to fully understand the complexities of funding, designing, sourcing, delivery, and distribution of such items, to the point where they would be able to understand how unforeseen obstacles can derail months of progress.

Quite frankly, they've accomplished more since Purism's inception than the Trisquel project has (in that same amount of time), as far as furthering the cause of free software goes, and this FSF distribution endorsement is further proof of that. More proof comes in the form of the TPM/heads, disabling (not merely "cleaning") the Intel ME, that they have official Debian developers working on PureOS, as well as their own Coreboot port (for which they are working to reverse-engineer the Intel FSP, as well as the VBIOS). There are probably other things that I either forgot, or else don't have the room to mention here (due to space constraints).

No, their laptops are not perfect now, but please show me a place where they state/imply that they are. They are doing the best they can with modern technology, and all of their efforts supporting free software, as well as their progress (not to mention the money and time invested), prove that they aren't just taking everyone for a ride.

chaosmonk

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> No, their laptops are not perfect now, but please show me a place where they state/imply that they are.

I already have. The page I linked to

https://puri.sm/products/librem-15/

implies that the laptop has no freedom issues as strongly as possible without making any explicitly false statements. The language tows the line so carefully that it is obvious that the intention is to mislead. If you didn't know anything about Purism you would almost certainly interpret this page has saying that the laptop is libre.

In order to find out what BIOS it uses, you have to click "compare specifications with our other models" which is the last thing on the page. That takes you here,

https://puri.sm/products/

and the second to last thing on that page discloses that it uses coreboot. Even then, their wording is "Say goodbye to proprietary BIOSes, say hello to coreboot," clearly implying that coreboot is not a proprietary BIOS, when they know that it contains proprietary blobs.

You'd have to be deliberately obtuse to argue that Purism is honest.

0d54770d

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Your reply was everything I expected it to be; thanks for showing me that unfair bias is still alive and well!

chaosmonk

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I have no issues with Purism except for the way they promote their laptops, so I don't know what prior experience could be biasing me against the way they promote their laptops.

Have you read the page I linked to yet? It's not like I'm cherry picking a few potentially misleading quotes from what is otherwise transparent and informative. Can you find a single sentence pertaining to freedom that does not falsely imply that the laptop is 100% libre? The closest I can find is this one:

"PureOS, from the bootloader, kernel, through to the hundreds of thousands of software applications available, is built line-by-line with emphasis on your rights to privacy, security, and freedom."

That sentence only makes a claim about the OS, which is libre, so I don't have a problem with it, although it does seem to imply that every line of code in PureOS was either written by Purism or written by another developer motivated by privacy, security, and freedom, neither of which is the case.

I don't see how anyone can look at that page and claim that it isn't misleading, and the misleading language is so consistent, effective, and well-written that I can't imagine that it isn't intentional. Am I just going crazy?

Jabjabs
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I have said for a while that I feel Purism has some good intentions but they mess up the message so badly some times.

Their business interests butt up against the moral ones and they let the business side win.

I'm sure if they could make fully-Libre hardware they will be the first to jump on but so far they are putting out a somewhat misleading image of their products.

chaosmonk

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They could make a libre laptop, but the specs would have to be lower. I don't mind that they compromise on freedom for more modern hardware. It's not ideal, but there is a set of people who would be unwilling to use any of the machines supported by libreboot, and I would much rather they use PureOS + Coreboot - Intel ME than a Macbook Pro or some other atrocity.

However, potential users of Purism's products should know exactly how they would be compromising their freedom so that they can make an informed decision, and it is Purism's responsibility to inform them. Otherwise, even if they learn about some of the freedom issues on our own, they won't know how many more there are that they don't know about unless they have the knowledge and time required to investigate.

If, like Technoethical, Purism clearly documented the freedom limitations of their products, I would have no problem with them, and I bet they would still be very successful.

ivanB1975
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I have to agree with you in here, but what do expect from some people that apply the concept of freedom in hardware and software so strictly that some of them use old hardware in the hope (they seem to forget the blobs on the storage...) to have complete freedom? When they call you troll I have to agree with them since you come here with perfectly nice intentions but completely ignoring that nobody here want to listen what you are saying.
I admire people that pursue an ideal of freedom like Mr. Stallman, but at the same time I am questioning the black and white narrow minded behaviours that some time I see here. Time ago I published some post on how to use the me_cleaner on a recent hardware. Apart for some people it got mostly ignored.
At the moment I am writing from the laptop that I freed from ME and it is a quad core i7.
In this post I would have preferred to see people saying: oh ok The FSF endorsed the Pure OS, let's try it, let's see if it is a good system. How the hell can they support recent graphical cards (do they?), and so on. No again the same stuff here, Purism an evil company that makes profit and so on. The post started very nicely with an informative intent and now it is just unreadable, lost, trolled. Guys who of you tried Pure OS? I think I will give it a try. Why not?

calher

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It depends on if that particular hard drive model gets UPDATES.

If it doesn't, it can be exempt from being classified as a computer.

ivanB1975
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yep but the doubts about this should make people be less strict in black and white classifications. You cannot say that a x200 is completely free if you don't know anything about some parts of it. It is nonsense. It is a grayish field where there are many degree of freedom and not just black and white. The perfect free hardware is something you build and design knowing everything of it. Does it exist? no.
Even the bunnie project (https://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=2686) in the already far away 2012 is not completely free since you need to use storage disk that you ignore at all what is inside.
A completely free system would be the bunnie project without storage, loading the Os from a cd for example...

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Your post doesn't do anything to address or refute the claims that Mason made. Purism have a track record of being misleading when it comes to marketing their hardware and their misguided efforts are damaging to the free software movement.

Free computing with modern hardware isn't going to be possible with modern hardware until Intel/AMD remove their spy engines or alternative chips (eg Power9) become available for affordable consumer use. Nothing short of that is good enough for me.

SuperTramp83

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downvoted, in the trollo hollo it needs to go, just like all that pure crap :/

GrevenGull
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Speaking of voting... I can't seem to get my voting through. Do I have to comment/reply to be allowed to vote or something?

onpon4
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Cool. Not one I'll likely be using personally, but it's nice to have another option.

I forget, is this based on Sid, testing, or stable? I seem to recall it being the testing branch, but I'm not entirely sure (the website doesn't say).

0d54770d

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PureOS is based on Debian testing.

onpon4
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Just a note: I don't like Purism either (I think I've made that clear enough), but it's possible to denounce one activity while being in favor of another. There's nothing wrong with PureOS as an OS as long as it's entirely libre, which has been verified to be the case.

jxself
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There seems no community around it. As I go to the website (which seems very basic) I find no reference to mailing lists, IRC channel, forums, or anything at all beyond a bug tracking system.

lloydsmart

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CalmStorm

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Well, what do you know, something that comes from purism that is ACTUALLY PURE!

;)

Don't really trust them though and I won't be using the os just because of systemd alone...

but yeah... that's not the only reason.

*cough librem cough*

loldier
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Purism are not upfront about their offerings. People might fall for their nice marketing parlance but at the end of the day, it is just that, sugar-coated words without real meaning.

One might give them credit for trying not so hard and failing miserably.

The OS is a separate issue and it might be useful. Endorsed by FSF, it should be genuinely libre.

davidpgil
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All I have to say is characterizing Purism as some sort of lecherous fiend who just lies and would stab you in the back at the first opportunity is so maddening for me. Not to get too philosophical, there is clearly some effort being put into trying to be free as in freedom and you actually see them try even if its just a bit. Why smack that down? Its like smacking down an addict who is trying to get sober. Frankly, people chill out.

Just be watchful of them. I'm optimisic about what they will put out in the future and if they start becoming "more evil" then I'll just give someone else my money. All of us are gulity to some extent of feeding all sorts of societal problems. However, a great deal of us are trying to be better. I see this movement growing more and more. Isn't that something to celebrate?

loldier
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"...there is clearly some effort being put into trying to be free as in freedom..."

To me, it seems like they've put more effort into marketing. Wash a baby and let it go down the drain?

freedom_babies.png
FindEssential
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David,

Its important to recognize that Purism went out of their way to make sure this community wouldn't support them. Todd Weaver (the main guy behind Purism) has engaged in very unprofessional flame wars in this very forum where he attacked long time supporters of Trisquel who in no way asked to have such treatment. Purism has a long history of claiming community support it does not have to market its for-profit products.

Honestly, I believe FSF got taken advantage of by listing PureOS. Its just Debian with a custom theme and the non-free repo removed; so it meets the definition in a literal sense....but it in no way advances free software as evident by a total lack of a community around it. PureOS is just a sock-puppet for Purism, which has some serious concerns around it. There are other, far more deserving distro's that should be on that list....and to be fair several completely defunct ones that should be removed. I worry that Purism may have paid for their status on that list based on what I have seen from them over the years. I truly hope that dark thought is just that, but I can't help but shake that something isn't right with the selection. Especially since I recall that it was rejected the first time it applied because it was a derivative work that was too similar to other distros already on the list. I don't see how things have changed since that first judgement was made.

onpon4
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> I worry that Purism may have paid for their status on that list based on what I have seen from them over the years.

That would only be possible if the FSF is corrupt. I don't see any reason to believe that.

FindEssential
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Not necessarily and I see it pretty regularly in my work. Purism, unlike a community project has means and dedicated staff they can throw at "problems". They can simply keep pushing the FSF to accept them and have the resources to force faster processing. Eventually the non-profit caves just so they can stop having to field calls, emails, and staff navigating their certification process.

I realize now they way I worded it implied a bribe, but that was not what I meant. I meant that Purism has the resources to not be ignored or be held to the same long process others are. I see these types of fast lanes appear in non-profit work regularly. In the end priorities become out of whack because if it.

jxself
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This was not the case for PureOS. Without giving away internal details, it was actually a multi-year process and not some fast lane. It's probably the longest endorsement process I've ever seen.

loldier
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By lifting the veil of secrecy a little bit, you've piqued my curiosity. I take your carefully chosen words as "PureOS was put to slow lane because... (something here)."

I wonder if you can share some information regarding other candidates for FSF endorsement.

LibertyBSD, perhaps?

FindEssential
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I'm glad to hear the process was indeed robust.

At the same time the issues I take with the process seem valid as well due to the number of free distros out there that I haven't heard a peep about from the FSF. This would include Heads, Liberty BSD, CloverOS, and ConnochaetOS. This doesn't even include Uruk and Hyperbola since I assume they can't be listed as they are derivatives of already listed distro's. Equally important is why so many dead and un-maintained distros remain listed. For example, it has been over six years since the last Blag release with no activity at all on their site, last i knew you couldn't even download the old image. Similar issues exist with Musix, Dynabolic, and Ututo.

It just seems like a miss use of resources to lend support to a distro with seemingly no community around it while leaving community led projects out in the cold and not providing a properly updated list for people who might need it.

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jxself
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I think this mischaracterizes things. I'm sorry that they're not being approved as fast as people may like but the the resources for this are limited. Donald hinted at this in the email announcement when he said that maintaining a free distro is a task that needs everyone's help. He also mentioned that they'll be working on other pending candidates now that this is out of the way. As a result, to be generic, I expect there to be more news in the next number of, um, time periods. :)