How do you dispose of non-free devices?
I've had a few non-free devices (Chromebook; two smartphones) come my way that I'd like to dispose of. Two are 'working' (in their non-free sort of way) and one is trashed. One the one hand, I could sell or donate the working devices. On the other, I could smash them with a hammer and give the remains to my electronics recycling center so that others can never be subjected to their non-free way of operating. I'm leaning toward the smashing solution, but it seems like kind of waste. Or is it...?
I'd say sell them and give the proceeds to the FSF or some other free service.
Well, you could possibly install Libreboot on the Chromebook depending on what model it is and if you can't, Trisquel or another free software operating system can be installed and you would end up with a system that has a minimal amount of non-free software.
If you want absolutely no non-free software, you can sell the Chromebook and the phones and buy freedom-respecting hardware from sites like tehnoetic.com or minifree.org OR you can buy an old thinkpad X60 or another piece of hardware on which Libreboot can be installed and flash Libreboot yourself.
But if you enjoy smashing stuff and still feel like smashing the shit out of that hardware, do it. It's all up to you.
Obviously it's your choice, and there's no right answer, but I think there's a fallacy to be aware of here.
The problem with smashing the device to prevent yourself from becoming a distributor of non-free software is that it assumes the buyer would have purchased a free-software device or none at all. More likely, they would have purchased a brand-new proprietary-software-based device, exerting a high toll on the environment and further funding the proprietary "product" propagation agents.
In my humble opinion, the best course of action is to free up the devices as much as possible, sell them with notes regarding what parts are still proprietary, and then invest any returns ethically- whether that be purchasing liberated hardware, donating to free software, or a totally unrelated cause you consider deserving.
>The problem with smashing the device to prevent yourself from becoming a distributor of non-free software is that it assumes the buyer would have purchased a free-software device or none at all. More likely, they would have purchased a brand-new proprietary-software-based device, exerting a high toll on the environment and further funding the proprietary "product" propagation agents.
I hope you're not being serious about smashing laptops and phones with a hammer, but just in case you aren't: don't do that. Ever. These devices contain lithium-ion or lithium-ion polymer batteries. Smashing these batteries, especially lithium-ion polymer batteries, could cause a lithium fire or even an explosion.
Additionally, there are valuable materials in electronics which can be recycled. So if there is any piece of electronics you want to get rid of, give them to someone who will recycle them (e.g. Best Buy). This is even more important for old electronics that have lead in them (lead-based solder used to be common), since lead dumped in a landfill can potentially run off and contaminate other things nearby, and lithium-ion batteries because of the lithium fire risk.
I know I shouldn't laugh, but this comment was full of giggles for me mostly because, YES! Lithium batteries do explode!
My x200's battery is made out of lithium ion and I heard the same thing when I talked to certain people.
This is a good warning.
NO ONE SHOULD SMASH A LITHIUM BATTERY! EVER!
less you want to die or cause massive problems for other people, etc...
Yeah... Probably not a good idea for the reasons suggested. Would also make a mess.
I really want them out of circulation.
Funny... I drive a 10 year old car that I plan to keep for at least another 10, in large part to avoid putting another one into circulation. I actually bike to most places, including work, year-round so the car sees very limited use in any event. Driving violates my code of ethics, much like using non-free software.
re: ereader story
Interesting. Lots of good stuff on your site. Thanks for the link.
re: Best Buy
Best Buy it is! Hopefully the components will be recycled into something that uses free software. I will have to drive there though...
Don't smash them, give it away to friends or donate it, OR USE IT. Remember there's something called https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence just dont't buy more crap anymore.
this is where the recycle teams end up your wasted hardware: AFRICA
After sleeping on it...
I have the chromebook running Debian Jessie via crouton without the non-free/contrib depositories and all o.k. according to vmrs (though that's apparently not completely reliable according to what I've read). I might use it for running a tor middle relay. I have to boot in ChromeOS and open a window to get it running. This actually works as a guest, so I don't need a Google account. I suppose that's not much worse than running a free distribution on a machine with non-free bios. Any thoughts about that? Just curious.
One of the phones is a Blackberry Classic. I have difficulty operating touch screens and need a physical keyboard, so a Replicant phone won't ever work for me. I've set up the phone account for talk/text only and no data plan, so it's running as a potential replacement for my trusty flip-phone, but much easier for me to operate. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to be completely phone free.
The other phone is my spouse's trashed iPhone that's headed for the recycling center.
Libreboot + C201 is the best choice for chromebooks at this time.
Libreboot isn't even necessary. It comes with U-Boot, which is libre. The same goes for the other ARM Chromebooks, though the problem with a lot of ARM SoCs is that they need custom versions of Linux to work properly (so it's harder to get your distro of choice running on them).
"It comes with U-Boot, which is libre."
...on ARM. I think the sentence deserves qualifying because uboot includes non-free stuff other for systems (e.g. microcode updates for PowerPC.)
I guess then it CAN be libre... but it isn't always.
Oh, I wasn't aware of that.
I guess the more appropriate statement would be that ARM Chromebooks come with a completely libre bootloader. What that bootloader is called is really an unimportant technicality. I guess I have a tendency to want to mention U-Boot because some people seem to be under the false impression that Libreboot is the only libre bootloader in existence.
To be honest I Wasn't aware of that either.
My chromebook (Acer CB3-131) has an Intel Celeron processor and Bay Trail graphics. After a bit of research, I found:
Removing the write-protect screw, running the chromebook in developer mode, opening a terminal and following the MrChromebox.tech instructions (script 3) to update the firmware and then installing Trisquel using a USB stick resulted in a chromebook that boots directly to 7.0. No muss. No fuss. ChromeOS is now gone completely. I needed to alternate using a USB mouse and keyboard (only one or two USB ports available) to get the Trisquel base system installed while offline and then updated everything using a compatible WiFi dongle. The touchpad didn't work initially, so I updated the kernel to Linux-Libre 4.9.1 and I'm in business. Boots really fast, but no built-in sound at all or physical screen brightness control (software control works). I'll have to try figure out the sound, but not bad at all for a freebie computer that I was about to toss.
Update: The machine does recognize a USB connected digital to analog converter (and old V-DAC, if you're interested) that I use to play digital sources through my stereo.