Free as in Trisquel or as in Fedora ?

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aliasbody
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se unió: 09/14/2012

Hello everyone,

I've been fallowing the very interesting post from Jodiendo about "the proprietary drivers facility vs the free software driver (non existent for example)" a very interesting post about a real problem from a new user (link here --> https://trisquel.info/en/forum/why-should-i-continue-triaquel-55-or-anything-related-it).

And all this made me think of something. As some of you may already know I am facing problems with Trisquel (and Ubuntu in general) on my laptop when the charger is not connected, the computer is extremely slow and since I can't find any good solution I am forced to use another distribution since I use most of the time my laptop in battery (once again a big thank you for all of those that toke their time to help me :D).

And on my process of searching for a temporary replacement distribution for my laptop (since my other computers don't have that problem) I've actually tested distributions like Ubuntu 12.10 and even Fedora 18. But the one that made me curious was the Fedora 18 distribution (and that post really made me want to think a little more about this).

So this is what happens. A lot of people complain (which is normal) about X or Y material (hardware) not working with Trisquel because there is no free driver (and we as a community won't provide them help for the proprietary driver since it will be against the original idea from Ruben). I use myself Trisquel everyday and everything works... So what is my natural way of thinking ? Why should I use proprietary software if I can do anything that I want to do with Free Software Right ?

Well I started to think twice after testing Fedora and I will explain why right now (mostly for those that never tested Fedora in the long term).

I think that Fedora is beautiful distribution, aiming to be 100% Free with a strict policy BUT still using the original (and full of blobs) linux kernel (being the big reason for the non acceptance from the Free Software Foundation in the "Gnu Distribution's list". But that is not the point.

So me as a user coming from Trisquel I started to think that it will be the same. I just need to change the kernel using the Free one provided by the FSFLA and everything will be alright. But before anything I will just install gnash and play some music in the background in order to look at the instructions carefully.

And this is when the "problems" start to appear. Fedora doesn't have any proprietary format (or patented... I don't really know what term to use). Because of this there is no MPEG-2 for example and no MP3 (I'm not totally sure about this one but since I couldn't hear audio file from my library I think I might not be totally wrong...). After 5 minutes I've managed to see that my library of videos and musics (totally playable in Trisquel without any installation of a library or package from the repositories) wouldn't play at all on Fedora because of their policy ! (I needed to install a non-free repository with the drivers).

So my question is. What do you think about this ? Do you think they are exaggerating about the situation ? Do you think this is normal because the main target could be countries with laws that block those kinds of decoders (because of patents for example) ? Do you think Trisquel should fallow the same lead and be "totally free" (according to the Fedora Free meaning) ?

Thanks in Advance for the reading and answering. And sorry for my horrible English (that I believe is sometimes hard to understand)

jxself
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se unió: 09/13/2010

Do you think Trisquel should fallow the same lead and be "totally free" (according to the Fedora Free meaning) ?"

No, because (as you've pointed out) Fedora has redefined free such that firmware blobs are acceptable. I would be unhappy if Trisquel were to follow Fedora's meaning. Trisquel does "FSF free", not "Debian free", not "Fedora free", not someone else's "free."

"Fedora doesn't have any proprietary format (or patented... I don't really know what term to use). "

Patented. It's important to make the distinction between proprietary software and software patents. For example: Free programs can play patent-encumbered formats such as MPEG-2, MPEG-3, etc. while remaining free. It's best not to conflate the two issues. The question of the program's license and the question about software patents are *very* different issues and need to be considered and judged separately.

Whereas copyright only covers the specific implementation of an idea (and you can't copyright an idea), patents cover the idea itself regardless of how it's implemented.

Constraining the issue to only discuss software patents, they are a problem because they essentially act as "idea monopolies." The danger to free software is that someone can come along and point a gun at you (in the form of a patent) and extort you, potentially bankrupting you, putting you out of business or to even stop distributing the software entirely. There is lots of stuff in the news about how software patents are being used for anti-competitive tactics in this way. Some (like Fedora) have decided to not distribute software (such as that used for MP3 playback) so as to minimize (but not eliminate) their risk of someone walking up to them with a patent gun and pointing it at their head.

No one should have the power to do that to someone else, and the FSF has a two-pronged campaign against software patents: The first prong advocates for the elimination of software patents entirely so that this cannot happen. The second prong encourages the use of other formats where this isn't an issue until (or unless) the first prong is successful. This includes Vorbis, Theora and Google's WebM format.

The policy of getting rid of programs that might infringe some patent is not a full solution, though, because the patent systen (at least in the U.S.) is incredibly broken and it's not realistic to think that it's possible to get rid of all software that might infringe on some patent somewhere, so some just draw the line at certain "low-hanging fruit" (like audio and video codecs.)

Really, though, the patent system needs fixing.

Magic Banana

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se unió: 07/24/2010

Let us not forget that Trisquel is based in the European Union where, until now (the unitary patent system is a serious threat), software patents are forbidden (although already delivered to companies forecasting the future of the unitary patent system).

As jxself eloquently stated it, using free software to read/write patented formats does not harm the user's freedoms. However, there is a threat that her files will not be readable/editable in freedom later because the free software she used has been made illegal after a patent ligation. That is why it is preferable to avoid such formats.

aliasbody
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se unió: 09/14/2012

I'm not saying that Trisquel need to change. No distro need to change because they all have a purpose, and an idea behind. I just wanted to see the diversity of the answers in this specific topic.

I just say that it is funny to see how different Free distributions (even only those compiling with the Gnu Free Term) can be in small details that can make a big difference ! And example that comes to my mind, is the Virtualbox from Trisquel vs the Virtualbox from Parabola. Where in Trisquel we have the normal (since it's free) virtualbox from Ubuntu repositories, and on Parabola we have the same but they have made changes in order to not list any non-free distribution on the list (removing the "bug" of a software proposing or talking about a non-free alternative).

Michał Masłowski

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se unió: 05/15/2010

The VirtualBox difference shows what IMO is a problem in Parabola: most
freedom-related changes are not discussed with developers of other free
distros and we don't have a single written set of rules what software
should be accepted (officially it's FSDG + some unspecified support for
free culture). There are several examples of it being unclear what
software recommends nonfree software.

You can help discuss the changes if you consider one of these solutions
preferable.

Magic Banana

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se unió: 07/24/2010
Chris

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se unió: 04/23/2011

You know what would be helpful to everybody is if there was a volunteer to coordinate between the different "free" distributions.

I'm not sure which distributions would make sense at the moment. Obviously the ones on the FSF list although Debian, OpenSuSE, Fedora, and others might be sufficiently close in definition and/or policy.

I'm thinking more along the lines of things like posting bug reports to get free software USB chipset supported, report non-free pieces, etc. AR9170 is still not supported by all distributions. Even those which would benefit most. I've committed ThinkPenguin to supporting Trisquel. However there are lots of other larger and non-derivative distributions which could benefit from having such coordination.

I think Debian is actually picking up and removing some non-free bits as an example for some gigabit ethernt chipsets that Trisquel might actually be including. I believe the chipsets still work although possibly at a reduced speed.

It would probably be a matter of getting on a dozen or two mailing lists and keeping an eye on the bug trackers. I've actually subscribed to the announcements here recently of many of the major distributions in order to improve ThinkPenguin's support although I'm not keeping an eye on bug reports or more involved mailing lists.

aliasbody
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se unió: 09/14/2012

Like a place only dedicated not to a single distribution but to all of them that want to remove non-free pieces from the programs/distros/kernel etc.. ?

That could actually be a good idea indeed and could even help a lot of people. The FSFLA are already doing a good job on their side in my opinion by providing a libre kernel for almost all of the bigs distributions (which is wonderfull).

But then we have the problem from "What is the really free ?". For example, for me the real free also includes art. For me a real free software is free not only in the code but also in the art it uses. And I know that most of the people here wouldn't agree with that (and dividing more would be a big mistake).

I've been using Fedora and I found it to be the stable and wonderful "base" for my work that Trisquel used to be until I started to use it on this laptop (which is sad but since I can't do anything for now). And yet I have been confronted directly with a different view of "What is really free ?" making me think that maybe I am more weak that what I think (because I can't live without the MPEG-2 codec for example). And this even knowing that a week ago I hated Fedora (never loved it and never will, was my way of thinking... a little bit like Ubuntu until I found Trisquel), and now I just found it amazingly beautiful, and the idea of not including these drivers because of the patents is just beautiful. I think it is funny to see people that don't mind if they don't play MP3 at all but still using non-free blobs for they devices... This reminds me of the ideal of my Teacher and now good friend who uses a Mac just for the stable "base" but then always uses a VM with Linux inside.

But that's another story,

Chris

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se unió: 04/23/2011

Your looking at this all wrong. It doesn't matter what the definition of free is provided it can be used to influence companies to release more code. You don't need 100% of the distributions to exclude non-free bits to get companies on board. You only need a significant set of the distributions or GNU/Linux population or a few big players (Debian, OpenSuSE, Fedora, etc) to start excluding more non-free bits to make a convincing argument. The more distributions we can get to begin excluding something the easier it is to argue that GNU/Linux as a whole is moving away from non-free software. Failing to release free code will exclude you from that market.

Don't worry too much about where your at and worry more about where your going. Nobody here (except maybe RMS) is perfect and we should be encouraging / helping people to get rid of as many proprietary bits as possible.

It is bad to encourage people to move from a proprietary platform to a mostly free one just to go and turn it into a less free system (by adding non-free bits). However removing more non-free bits should always be encouraged. In other words we don't want steam for GNU/Linux. It'll encourage more non-free users and water down our arguments. We do want more distributions to start taking stricter stances and/or the user base to start demanding more free code.

Magic Banana

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se unió: 07/24/2010

It should be part of FSF's work, shouldn't it?

MagicFab
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se unió: 12/13/2010

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Le 13-01-30 06:40 AM, name at domain a écrit :
> It should be part of FSF's work, shouldn't it?

Debian is working towards that goal. Developers interested in helping or
anyone wanting to follow progress should be looking at this mailing list:
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/fsf-collab-discuss

If you look at the archives there's been several discussions with lots
of technical detail about what needs to be done, how, etc.:
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/pipermail/fsf-collab-discuss/

F.

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Jodiendo
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se unió: 01/09/2013

Every time, I read the word "libre" in spanish, it reminds me that there is a DARK SIDE to "Libre", the word "lIBERTINAJE."meaning and Roughly translated as "Moral Licentiousness," Would you agree with me? that those propietary software scripts, drivers and firmware are exactly full of "Moral Licentiousness,?"

jxself
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se unió: 09/13/2010

name at domain asked:

"Would you agree with me?"

No, and stop trolling.

sirgazil (no verificado)
sirgazil

aliasbody:

I came to the Free Software World through Ubuntu. And one of the first things I learnt when installing it was that many popular multimedia formats were related to patent issues and were a danger for a free society. Before this, I always thought that patents were a great thing, that's what I learnt from my education: you patent something, and you'll make a lot of money. Now I see that patents are for the benefit of a few, not to benefit society.

I think everybody has a definition of freedom. I'm more into the Free Cultural Works concept now, not just Free Software. So I support the developers of any distribution that are committed to give their users a system with libre software, art and documentation. And I'd go even further, I'd love to see a distribution that doesn't suggest the use of protocols and formats that don't have libre specifications.

Magic Banana

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se unió: 07/24/2010

Let me add a few words to one of your sentences:
Patents are for the benefit of a few lawyers and patent-trolls, not to benefit society or any "inventor".

Although I cannot really talk about patents outside the software world. I do not know much about them.

levlaz

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se unió: 01/29/2013

I agree with sirgazil, I applaud the efforts to make something free on all accounts.

It is very difficult to have 100% free hardware, but when it comes to software, media, documentation -- this is something that we can control and I encourage others to do so.

I. Khider
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se unió: 01/19/2013

A libre version of Fedora...is that not Blag Linux?

http://www.blagblagblag.org/

It looks poorly maintained and there has not been an official release for a while. I tried it and it is glitchy. Though I am not an anarchist, I do like the links to anarchism and little info packs on where to learn more about it. Apparently the main developer just walked away. Too bad.I hope the community can resurrect it. Also tried Dragora and Ututo, but they cannot hold a candle to Trisquel. It would be nice if there were more functional libre OS'.

onpon4
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se unió: 05/30/2012

It seems that right now Trisquel, Ututo, Parabola, and Dragora are the only completely free distros that are actually being maintained, though I think I heard a while back that gNewSense is going to be picked up again soon (something about a new developer working on it).

BLAG is way behind; the "current" version is based on Fedora 14, which fell out of support more than a year ago. I tried it once and found it to be pretty much unusable.

But it would be nice if they finally catch up. I think the current plan is to ditch version 160k (based on Fedora 16), since Fedora 16 will be out of support very soon, and just jump to 180k (based on Fedora 18). Time will tell if they're able to keep it up-to-date after that.

aliasbody
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se unió: 09/14/2012

I would personally love to do my free version of fedora, since I found Fedora very attractif and very useful. But nowadays the real diference between Fedora and a possible Fedora Libre version is only Firefox and the kernel (as I don't seem to see any other change).

Personally if I would do a distro based on Fedora I would include the patented but free codecs until a better solution is found as I personally prefer to have all my decoders (since they are free for the most part) but not the kernel (since we are talking about the core of the OS itself).

But that's another question. And many changes would have to happen to this distro since I don't agree with many of the conditions of Fedora itself (like the fact that you can't remove the fedora-release package without removing all of you distributions (like Ubuntu in the old times where Firefox removed you Kernel xD).

Too much ideas for too much time... that's sad... Anyways I am really considering the idea (since it works perfectly on my Laptop and uses almost everything I love, for my others computers I choose Trisquel without any doubt !), so if anyone is interested please let me know, this could really end into something (but I need to consider the idea of finishing the Trisquel for Android).

Apart of that, we are going once again too deep in the question. This is my way of showing (even if only for myself) that I am not so strong (on my Free Software believes) as I thaught I was. By this time I am supposed to live without any pattented codec like I do without any non-free software but it's not the case, and this makes me think a lot..

Magic Banana

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se unió: 07/24/2010

I am not so strong (on my Free Software believes) as I thaught I was. By this time I am supposed to live without any pattented codec

Again: using free codecs (a copyright issue) to read/write patented formats (a patent issue) does not harm your freedoms. The only problem, which can be serious, is that you may be trapped in the future if the patent holder make the free codecs illegal. You would have to use an old system and, if possible, convert all your files to another format with free codecs (what can represent a lot of work) or just forget reading/writing your files in freedom (so, if you are "strong", forget about your files).

aliasbody
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se unió: 09/14/2012

I know about that, but I also like to call this a challenge. You know, I start that post not after not being able to open an MP3 file (because I could convert it, but then it wouldn't play on my Car Radio, but once again I could buy another one and that's not the problem) but because I couldn't play a video on Youtube using gnash (and worse... those messages every time a new video was running are very annoying :S..).

But I personally can see this as a challenge. For me anything that is or can control me or what I do is a threat to my physical and moral liberty. I just had forgotten that patents existed nothing more.

But I have a question that you may be able to answer.

Imagine that I (let's take me as an example to be short in the text) invented some new idea/technology etc.. Something that normally enterprises would patent in order to keep the control. Now me, as an individual, I hate patents in any terms, so I wouldn't use or register any one of them. Now comes the question : "Could anyone else patent my idea/technology ?". And if yes wouldn't it give him(them) the power over what I've created ?

Isn't it like the name or image of something ? I remember the Linux kernel being copyrighted for Linus Torvalds because of the same thing that happen to Linus in the 90', and this is also why the Trisquel logo and name is copyrighted by Ruben itself (if I'm not wrong) but only in Spain. So what makes this different from patents ?

jxself
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se unió: 09/13/2010

"Could anyone else patent my idea/technology?"

Indeed they could, especially in countries that follow the "First To
File" policy (like the United States), rather than "First To Invent."

In fact, because the patent system in the U.S. is just so absolutely
broken it's even possible for multiple people to have patents on the
exact same thing.

Michał Masłowski

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I am a translator!

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se unió: 05/15/2010

> Imagine that I (let's take me as an example to be short in the text)
> invented some new idea/technology etc.. Something that normally
> enterprises would patent in order to keep the control. Now me, as an
> individual, I hate patents in any terms, so I wouldn't use or register
> any one of them. Now comes the question : "Could anyone else patent my
> idea/technology ?". And if yes wouldn't it give him(them) the power
> over what I've created ?

It depends. Prior art should prevent them from patenting it after a
long enough time, while patents can be written in such ways that it
won't look similar and issuing more patents is profitable for patent
offices (the same problems occur with software patents when software
isn't patentable).

> Isn't it like the name or image of something ? I remember the Linux
> kernel being copyrighted for Linus Torvalds because of the same thing
> that happen to Linus in the 90', and this is also why the Trisquel
> logo and name is copyrighted by Ruben itself (if I'm not wrong) but
> only in Spain. So what makes this different from patents ?

Please don't call it "copyrighting", these examples refer to trademarks
which are completely different. (Names usually are not copyrightable,
enforced trademarks do not expire unlike copyright before the Mouse,
etc.)

I don't know any case where trademarks are as bad as patents for
software freedom. Some packages require renaming (e.g. Firefox and
Thunderbird) since their trademark licenses made them nonfree. Patents
might require avoiding some protocols or ignoring them.

jxself
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se unió: 09/13/2010

Ha; if prior art actually worked then the avalanche of patents coming
out of the U.S. Patent Office would slow down. To the question of
"would they get a patent"? They probably would. Could someone later
invalidate the patent with prior art? They probably could.

Magic Banana

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se unió: 07/24/2010

Even when large companies are under a patent attack, they usually try not to go to court. Even if they go, the "issue" is usually solved in the dark (as in "I'll give you 8$ on every license I sell") and the litigation is aborted. The point is: litigating costs *tons* of money.

Once a real software company (not a paten-troll) attacks another one, the other one strikes back with its own patents (if it is large) or die (if it is small). It does not even matter if the patents would eventually hold in front of a judge. Most of them would not (they are trivial, previous art exists, etc.). What matters is that no reasonable company fights for years in a court. Today, Samsung and Apple spend more money into litigation than they do doing research and development!

Software patents only profit lawyers and patent-trolls (which, by definition, cannot be attacked because they do not produce anything). Nobody else. In particular, not any small inventor as the defenders of the patent system (lawyers and patent-trolls) want us to believe. A small inventor does not have money to spend in litigations. What may happen is that an obscure company will propose her to do that job for her. That other company is a patent-troll...

jxself
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se unió: 09/13/2010

I found this to be a good episode about patents, by the way, if
anyone's interested:
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

icarolongo
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se unió: 03/26/2011

Now is very easy to find devices with FLAC and Ogg Vorbis support. Probably Ogg Theora and WebM VP8 is a more difficult but you can play with one Android tablet or smartphone or one Trisquel HTPC in your TV.

You can download many videos from Youtube in WebM with add-on Flash Video Downloader - Youtube Downloader.

icarolongo
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se unió: 03/26/2011

I create one blog for help people for find devices with WebM, Ogg and FLAC in Brazil: http://tocandoliberdade.wordpress.com/ (in Portuguese)

Well, the blog need improvements. I will do soon.

You can do the same in Portugal and everybody here for the others countries.

Chris

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se unió: 04/23/2011

I'd love to know your secret. I'm not convinced there is a really good inexpensive solution. You can get “junk” (not my words) with support and you can get stuff that is pricey and probably decent or good enough. However try combining that with readily available and easy and not terribly expensive. There really isn't anything like that I've come across. What I consider affordable, what I consider readily available, and not junk probably differs from yours though. Everybody has different expectations and price points. Finding the right solution that works for many people is hard.

icarolongo
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se unió: 03/26/2011

In Brazil is more difficult indeed. But in the US you have many options from basic to professional to FLAC and Ogg Vorbis [1][2][3]. WebM and Ogg Theora too, but less. Android play out-of-box, iOS can play with software in App Store[4]. In my opinion is easy only listen Ogg and FLAC.

And FLAC is becoming well known: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57530837-221/what-is-flac-the-high-def-mp3-explained/

[1] https://wiki.xiph.org/FLAC#Non-PC_playback_support
[2] https://wiki.xiph.org/Vorbis_Hardware
[3] https://wiki.xiph.org/PortablePlayers
[4] https://wiki.xiph.org/PortablePlayers/Others

Chris

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se unió: 04/23/2011

A lot of these options are dependent on indulging in non-free software. And not just lightly. They are heavily dependent and come with other issues. A dedicated device is less of a problem.

But- yes- I agree. Readily available does depend on where you live. It isn't as readily available as I'd like. I'd like a reasonably priced player of decent quality to be available. Even within the United States I don't think we have great options available.

Magic Banana

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se unió: 07/24/2010

What about players supporting the ROCKbox firmware (under the GPL)? I would choose such a player if I needed one. It does not seem to be anywhere as risky as CyanogenMod (for smartphones).

Dave_Hunt

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se unió: 09/19/2011

Rockboxing a player frees it enough for my satisfaction.

Chris

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se unió: 04/23/2011

Yes- if your technical and have the time. The majority of people are not though. Plus these players are more expensive and there is an availability issue.

Dave_Hunt

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se unió: 09/19/2011

There's a vendor, talkingmp3players.com who will rockbox the Sansa players for the customer. I'd be willing to pay someone to do something like this. I'd theoretically be willing to do likewise for a pda.

-Dave

On Jan 31, 2013, at 7:52 PM, name at domain wrote:

> Yes- if your technical and have the time. The majority of people are not though. Plus these players are more expensive and there is an availability issue.

Chris

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se unió: 04/23/2011

hmm that isn't too terrible actually. It is too bad there isn't more demand.

Still- we might take a look into it.

MagicFab
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se unió: 12/13/2010

On 13-01-31 06:34 PM, name at domain wrote:
> What about players supporting the ROCKbox firmware (under the GPL)? I
> would choose such a player if I needed one. It does not seem to be
> anywhere as risky as CyanogenMod (for smartphones).

The Sansa Clip+ works great and is easy to Rockbox. I didn't find other
devices as easily available. The Rockbox firmware can also easily be
reverted.

Here's a screenshot - the documentation is also device-specific and
pretty ridiculously detailed:
http://download.rockbox.org/daily/manual/rockbox-sansaclipplus/rockbox-buildch12.html#x15-24800012.3.13

Cheers,

F.

--
Fabián Rodríguez
http://trisquel.magicfab.ca

levlaz

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se unió: 01/29/2013

That's the whole idea of copyleft -- you "patent" or "license" or whatever under a free license. So in the end you are still credited with the work and no one else can claim that it is their own, while preserving freedom.