To live with 100% Libre/Free software.

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Martinus
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Joined: 11/19/2019

Hello everybody.

I have a question about the possibility to live with 100% libre/free software.

Currently I have a router with LibreCMC and a ThinkPad X200 with LibreBoot and Trisquel GNU/Linux. I'm trying to get a ReplicantOS compatible phone currently.

My issue is that I love music and I got TONS of CD's, Tapes, Minidiscs and Vinyls.

Tapes and vinyls are analog and can be played with pure analog equipment. But what about CD's and MiniDiscs? Both require some kind of digital/software to run.

Do I really need to drop having a CD player and Minidisc player in my HI-FI and get a librebooted device to play my music from ogg files?

Or is a CD player ok since there is no way to update the firmware on the device?

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

Or is a CD player ok since there is no way to update the firmware on the device?

RMS's opinion is that, in that case, the software can be seen as a circuit and it is OK to run it.

Here is an excerpt of "Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions" (from 2014):

AC: As a follow-up, where exactly do you draw the line concerning [freeness of software] and whether or not you use software. For example, do you toast bread in a toaster that runs proprietary code? Obviously we're talking about different things here, but I'm curious to know at what point you say "no thanks!" when it comes to locked down technology.

RMS: The case of the toaster is very clear: we can't tell, except by taking it apart, whether it has a processor and software or a special-purpose chip. Since that we can't tell the difference, it makes no difference: therefore, a program that will never be changed is equivalent to a circuit. I don't care whether a toaster or microwave oven contains software.

A very common design approach nowadays is an appliance or peripheral that contains software that could be changed, but normal use does not include changing it. I think we can still disregard that software, as regards the ethical issue of free vs nonfree software; it is just a short way into thr gray area. However, such devices can be a terrible security threat, because a corrupted computer can install malware in them that will propagate. Devices which have this problem include USB sticks, microSD cards, disk drives, and the cameras that go in computers.

Where is the other side of the line? If the device has an "update firmware" button, that firmware is software meant to be changed, so it is unacceptable.
https://interviews.slashdot.org/story/14/05/05/2012218/richard-stallman-answers-your-questions

Martinus
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Joined: 11/19/2019

Thank you for the reply. The interview was very useful!

commodore256
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Joined: 01/10/2013

CDs were invented in late 70's and brought to market in the early 80's, so there's no DRM and appliance CD players are very primitive. They're not like "Smart" TVs. That's one of the reasons why I prefer analogue TVs, that and even on Composite, they look better than a lot of new 4K TVs. New TVs have this frame rate interpolation processing. Minidisc, I have no idea, you spell "analog" the American way and MDs were a failure in the American Market, do you have a lot of Japanese MDs? I'm not sure about their DRM, but the media itself was an interesting technology, Optical Magnetic.

Anyway, why Ogg? Sure it's probably better quality than best MP3 encoder, but that's kinda an old codec. There's Opus, but I'm not sure (and somebody can correct me if I'm wrong) but opus is limited to to 48khz. There's implementations of HE-AACv2. I'm not sure if the Fraunhofer AAC encoder is free software, but there's also FAAD2 if you want a less ambiguous license, I'm not too concerned about AAC patents, they really only have about 5 years of life in He-AACv2 Patents and even then, the patents licensing was way less messy than MP3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-Efficiency_Advanced_Audio_Coding#Licensing_and_patents But I'd recommend Flac for Archives and the best codec your mobile music Player supports for mobile listening. There are cheap $10 MP3 Players, but something fun would be the iPod 5.5, it's the best thing Rockbox supports and you can upgrade it to a 1TB SSD and get an extended battery. This guy doesn't install rockbox, but it's very vlogy and shows you the pitfalls you can go through opening it up and it's a bit more artistic about it and shows life from a pre-smartphone era. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AF1Pjbwc6c

Martinus
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Joined: 11/19/2019

English is my second language and it is a mix of both British and American when I spell.

I just picked OGG since it was the only file format I could remember at the time and that was free.

I would have been more concert if I wrote something in the lines of "...player in my HI-FI and get a librebooted device to play my music from audio files?".

I had forgotten about the FLAC format. I play my music from physical media. So I don't know much about the digital formats in play.

Many year ago I had and iPod with RockBox. But is RockBox truly Libre?

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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Joined: 06/09/2014

name at domain wrote:
> I had forgotten about the FLAC format. I play my music from physical media.
> So I don't know much about the digital formats in play.

I'm not sure what you mean by playing music from physical media. A USB key
or SD card are physical media and both can hold files in formats that favor
free software (including FLAC). There are also devices with FLAC decoders
in their ROMs.

> Many year ago I had and iPod with RockBox. But is RockBox truly Libre?

The best evaluation would come from examining its current source code, but
last I had heard Rockbox was free software. I believe the Rockbox git repo
is browsable via the web at
https://git.rockbox.org/?p=rockbox.git;a=summary and further directions are
https://www.rockbox.org/wiki/UsingGit

Martinus
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Joined: 11/19/2019

By "I play my music from physical media" I mean the traditional physical music formats such as CD, LP, MiniDisc, Cassette, 8Tracks ect.

> The best evaluation would come from examining its current source code, but
last I had heard Rockbox was free software. I believe the Rockbox git repo
is browsable via the web at
https://git.rockbox.org/?p=rockbox.git;a=summary and further directions are
https://www.rockbox.org/wiki/UsingGit

I will take a look in to this. Thank you.

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

New TVs have this frame rate interpolation processing.

I believe most TVs let you disable movement interpolation, mainly for video game players who do not want the (small) delay it necessarily implies (to interpolate, you need frames that will be displayed in the future).

There's Opus, but I'm not sure (and somebody can correct me if I'm wrong) but opus is limited to to 48khz.

That is still more than the sampling rate of audio CDs (44.1 KHz). As a consequence, when ripping an audio CD, that is no restriction.

There's implementations of HE-AACv2.

Opus shows slightly superior quality compared to AAC: http://listening-test.coresv.net/results.htm

There are cheap $10 MP3 Players, but something fun would be the iPod 5.5, it's the best thing Rockbox supports and you can upgrade it to a 1TB SSD and get an extended battery.

Isn't the iPod 6G "better"? I guess it depends on the chosen criteria. Anyway, RockBox supports the iPod 6G too.

commodore256
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Joined: 01/10/2013

>Isn't the iPod 6G "better"? I guess it depends on the chosen criteria. Anyway, RockBox supports the iPod 6G too.

This must be a recent development because last time I checked Classic 5.5 was the best rockbox supported. I just checked the rockbox website and rockbox was just updated this month. I guess it's becoming popular again because of the Vloggers talking about iPods because I heard that project was dying down due to interest in smartphones, but joggers still swear by dedicated music players because they're not wasting their battery life with a 4G or Wifi Antenna and I guess there's an interest in going back a few steps and not just for nostalgic reasons, but I think even people who don't know what a Unix-Like system is are seeing smartphones as being more trouble than they're worth.

New technology is overrated at times, I for one am very curious about how much more bandwidth one could squeeze out of dial-up using signal processing that isn't 20 years old or using 2G bands with contemporary signal processing, I'm sure the range would be fantastic and it would save on battery life. That's why Pagers lasted half a month on one AAA Battery it's because the technology was simpler.

zapper
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Joined: 11/29/2019

I have had a good time with sansa fuze+.

They say its unstable, but besides a kernel panic which rarely ever happens, and the time resetting sometimes, it works almost perfectly. Plus it is way more durable then the previous sansa fuze products.

zapper
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Joined: 11/29/2019

opus and ogg are also smaller size compared to other open or free formats, but I have taken a liking recently to opus. It is the lightest format I have seen so far that I like.

That being said, as I mentioned a moment ago, sansa fuze+ is my new favorite rockbox device.

I have had almost no errors with them. Just an extremely rare kernel panic every so often and the time resetting randomly.

It is built very sturdy compared to the previous Fuze devices and those were sturdy too, but fuze+ is twice the sturdiness.

nadebula.1984
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Joined: 05/01/2018

For x64-based computing devices (desktop and laptop), obtaining 100% freedom/liberation is relatively easy, and you already had it.

For arm-based mobile devices (cell phone and tablet), it's very hard to live with 100% freedom/liberation. You can try to buy a Replicant phone, but don't be surprised if its peripherals like WiFi and bluetooth don't work without non-free firmware.

For your music collection, you do need a Rockbox player. I use Creative Zen, and it can support at least 256 GB of SD/TF cards, which should be able to hold a considerable portion of your musics in compressed formats. My personal advice is to rip all the CDs and store them in a free/libre lossless format, such as FLAC, for archival purposes, and then compress them using a free/libre, effective algorithm such as opus, and these opus (and maybe vorbis, too) files are what you should load to your Rockbox player. The source codes of Rockbox are audittable.

Finally, firmware is ubiquitous. But as long as they don't update themselves via internet automatically, they can be treated as physical circuits and therefore have no major freedom issues.

(Sorry for the typos. I've tried to correct them.)

zigote
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Joined: 03/04/2019

> For x64-based computing devices (desktop and laptop), obtaining 100% freedom/liberation is relatively easy, and you already had it.

How exactly do you "easily" obtain 100% freedom when there is proprietary microcode on CPU and proprietary firmware on storage and other peripherals?

> Finally, firmware is ubiquitous.

Which contradicts the former.

> But as long as they don't update themselves via internet automatically, they can be treated as physical circuits and therefore have no major freedom issues.

The 4 software "freedoms" have absolutely nothing to do with Internet. You can have proprietary software without network at all. According to your claim it will have "no major freedom issues" but in fact it will be completely non-free.

zapper
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Joined: 11/29/2019

Perhaps, but the internet is when freedom is ten thousand times more important.

Intel me/AMD PSP are perfect examples of why you need freedom in devices with internet access.

There are also countless others out there too, its not hard to find those issues either...

zigote
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Joined: 03/04/2019

You didn't answer the question.

Also what I said was not "perhaps" but a fact through which I showed why your former claim was wrong.

In reply to that you say something which not only confirms that but also shows again the way you are confusing things.

I wonder what's the point of everything you say. Are you trying to convince others that what you wish for (and what does not exist) is a fact? It is not.

zapper
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Joined: 11/29/2019

Well, I never said that it was a fact did I? That's my belief on the subject. It doesn't have to be yours.

That being said, Malicious functionality is mainly a problem when it can be hacked by someone besides the one who bought it.

I guess, you could ask Stallman what he thinks on the subject.

What he says doesn't exactly mean its a fact, but I think you would respect his opinion even if not mine.

Just my two cents for you.

zigote
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Joined: 03/04/2019

Sorry. My initial comment was to nadebula.1984.

I don't really care about beliefs or opinions (however reputed the source). Facts matter.