Is freedom ethical?

27 respostas [Última entrada]
Lef
Lef
Desconectado
Joined: 11/20/2021

Every single RYF computer at this point is energy-inefficient by today's standards.

Energy-inefficient means the computers use more energy than newer non-RYF computers, making them less eco-friendly.

This leads to an interesting question is it ethical to use libreboot computers when one can easily get a more eco-friendly computer?

lanun
Desconectado
Joined: 04/01/2021

> when one can easily get a more eco-friendly computer

After one has included in their calculation the extra material and energy required to manufacture that new machine, while the old one needs none, one will realize that there is in fact no dilemma: compared to that, the difference in yearly energy consumption between the two machines is going to be ridiculoulsy small, so the "eco-friendly" one will most probably also be the older, librebooted one.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/24/2010

You are probably right. Nevertheless, it depends on how much the computer will still be used. I remember hearing that the energy to produce a cellphone is, in average, far greater (maybe five times greater, if I remember well) than the energy it consumes while in use, for far too little time (in average less than two years, if I remember well). However, that factor is much lower (two maybe?) for larger computers, mainly because their lifetimes are longer.

Also, beside energy consumption, there is the problem of pollution. For instance, if the energy reaching the device is produced by burning coal then using the device pollutes more than if that energy comes from a solar plant. But that is even more complicated than that because there are different types of pollution. For instance, emitting CO2 and polluting a river with chemicals used to produce a device are not the same thing...

Taking another context, I also remember hearing that, taking into account the pollution emitted during production, substituting today a gas-burning car for an electric one is more ecological than making the existing car last for many more years. Since you are French-speaking, I am pretty sure I heard that from Le Réveilleur in https://yewtu.be/watch?v=zjaUqUozwdc (and sorry for the lack of references w.r.t. the first claims in my post).

Just to be clear: I am not pointing at the complexity of the problem to avoid taking decisions based on ecological considerations. Partly for ecological reasons, I have never owned a car or a cellphone.

Lef
Lef
Desconectado
Joined: 11/20/2021

> Partly for ecological reasons, I have never owned a car or a cellphone.

I've wanted to not own a cell phone for awhile, but worried about whether I'd be employable. How do you manage work and no phone?

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/24/2010

I call nobody and nobody calls me, although I have a landline at home and in my office. I use emails and videoconferencing (Jitsi if I can impose my will not to use proprietary software). Since I spend most of time on my laptop with my email client running and notifications, I am quite reactive. Unlike my interlocutors, I am never disturbed by phone calls while chatting in the hallway (or whatever). I am a university professor, hence with no real boss. That certainly helps a lot.

lanun
Desconectado
Joined: 04/01/2021

> taking into account the pollution emitted during production, substituting today a gas-burning car for an electric one is more ecological than making the existing car last for many more years.

I had missed that part, sorry. So I did not notice that we had jumped from comparing the energy consumption of new vs. old laptops to the question of replacing fossil fuel cars. I would believe that the added pollution from keeping a fossil fuel engine running depends less on time than on distance, or more precisely maybe on a product of the two. So for instance the yearly emissions of a professional diesel car travelling 45,000 km per year are equivalent to 9 years of emissions of a seldom used car at 5,000 km per year. I would think that the need for replacing is less urgent in the latter case, although it might still be better to replace it before its eventual EOL.

The video says that retrofitting is the best option in most cases - cutting into polluting emissions without needing to produce an entirely new car body, frame, etc. The only reason why people are not rushing for it is its price. Not sure why the price of retrofitting should be a factor when comparing energy efficiency and emissions, though. That video is very dense. The part about shared transportation systems seems to support the conclusion that this is where our efforts should be focused, especially given that the relative cost of retrofitting is even lower in that case. I should add that reducing our overall consumption is clearly the only viable path, whatever laudable improvements we may be able to achieve in energy efficiency and eco-friendliness.

I have a feeling we went slightly off-topic outright from post #2, but as you said, these things only make sense if taken in their broader context.

> I have never owned a car or a cellphone.

Same here, I have always deemed it wiser to borrow these things from other people. Now I think about it, I have been borrowing even credit cards in order to avoid owning one for the precious little use I would have of it. Believe it or not, I once had no other way to book a seat on a night coach, they took only credit card payments, and only through their leaky website. Not owning a credit card (or a debit card, for that matter) is a great way to reduce consumption, because you always have to think about how you are going to pay. Since you start thinking, you stop mindless consuming.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/24/2010

I have a credit card, in particular to buy plane ticket (what is ecologically terrible, but the only way to see my family every two years or so). I prefer cash for essentially everything else. For privacy reasons and not to enrich companies such as Visa and MasterCard, which do not deserve it (the vendor does). Telling that in Brazil, the reaction is always "carrying cash, are you afraid of being mugged?". Although it is definitely a problem in Brazil (even more in Rio de Janeiro; I live in Belo Horizonte), I have lived here for twelve years and I never been mugged. Certainly because I always wears a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops, not the look of those carrying much money. :-)

Lef
Lef
Desconectado
Joined: 11/20/2021

> After one has included in their calculation the extra material and energy required to manufacture that new machine

The newer (not necessarily new) machine is already made and available. One can say use a PDP-11 instead of a x200, the x200 required manufacturing when the PDP-11 was already there.

koszkonutek
Desconectado
Joined: 03/19/2020

By purchasing a device we are contributing to the demand for that device. If the device is still being manufactured, increased demand causes supply to increase as well and can indeed cause the more new devices to get manufactured.

This is also why people who disapprove of animal killing become vegetarians. Even though they could buy meat of an animal that has already been killed

PublicLewdness
Desconectado
Joined: 03/15/2020

Ethics are subjective so will vary from person to person. Is it ethical to allow yourself to be spied on through software and hardware back doors when there are options that would prevent that or limit your ways of being targetted ? How about using such systems with backdoors and security holes in a business setting or school setting where you're subjecting others to being easier targets to be spied on ? Furthermore how much power usage should a computer have ? What should be the limit you look for ? The answer is that there is no good answer to that. All you can do is to make the choices you feel are best suited to your needs and budget. The RYF is simply a tool to help you guage certain hardware on the grounds of privacy and security not a legal requirement one must adhere to.

Lef
Lef
Desconectado
Joined: 11/20/2021

> Is it ethical to allow yourself to be spied on through software and hardware back doors

I imagine you're saying the IME allows me to be spied on? Can you provide a source of the IME being used to spy on someone?

PublicLewdness
Desconectado
Joined: 03/15/2020

"I imagine you're saying the IME allows me to be spied on? Can you provide a source of the IME being used to spy on someone?"

I would also include the AMD PSP on this list but you got the gist of it.

https://libreboot.org/faq.html#intelme

On that page is a list of the capabilities of the Intel ME. Now it is closed source code and can do all that. What else can it do that we may not know ? I don't need proof of someone being spied on to not trust this code. I don't trust closed source code in the best of times let alone when it has such access to my system. You're on the Trisquel forum, which means I am willing to bet you are in favor of not using closed source blobs on your system. Why ? Don't you trust them ? Why trust the Intel ME but not the closed source blobs ?

libredrs

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/29/2012

Few discussions of appliance efficiency, especially for electric vehicles, factor in the carbon footprint, pollution and direct human costs (e.g., worker abuses) associated with production. It will interesting, and I suspect horrifying, to learn about the true cradle-to-grave environmental and human impacts of electric vehicle production. Metal mining alone is already shaping up to be a disaster, but people get overly excited when Uncle Joe speeds away in an electric Ford F150 or Hummer. It would be heresy, especially in the U.S., to even suggest that we should reduce or eliminate our reliance on private vehicles.

Anyway... sort of back on topic:

What does one do with working computer equipment that cannot be rendered free?

Give it away so that it can still be used, albeit in a non-free way? I'm not sure that's ethical.

Bring to a store or government entity for recycling, where it's eventual fate is unknown? I'm not sure that it's ethical to add to the hazardous waste stream.

I have a box of 'working' gear (if one considers non-free to be working) that I'd like to dispose of, but don't know what to do.

jxself
Desconectado
Joined: 09/13/2010

From a software freedom point of view the best option is to probably never have bought it in the first place:
https://jxself.org/the-story-of-an-ebook-reader.shtml

libredrs

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/29/2012

That is indeed the dilemma!

Thanks for the link to your article.

Staples (a store in the U.S.) will take unwanted equipment for recycling. I supposed that one could damage the device so that it cannot be repaired and hope that it ends up in a 'responsible' waste stream. My town used to fill a tractor trailer with electronics and then have it carted away, but that became too expensive.

koszkonutek
Desconectado
Joined: 03/19/2020

I also have this problem. What I've been considering, however, is giving it away to someone who is using an even more proprietary-software-encumbered device right now. I'd consider it acceptable to give a rooted ebook reader running ~95% free software to someone who has been using a non-rootable ebook reader so far (and has no plans to buy a 100% free one in the near future).

Of course, I'd first make is clear to that person that this device is not entirely good

libredrs

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/29/2012

Drinking water supplies near nickel mines in Indonesia are contaminated with hexavalent chromium:

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/feb/19/we-are-afraid-erin-brockovich-pollutant-linked-to-global-electric-car-boom

damidu
Desconectado
Joined: 03/30/2021

It's really hard. If you want "privacy" you need to be deconnected of any networks. Don't plug an ethernet cable. Don't turn on wifi. Don't turn on gps if you have a laptop. Every time you load a webpage in your browser you put some trace on remote servers, for ever!

For "normal" people, privacy is a joke. (they surf the web, they make phone calls, they go on the street where there are cameras)

For people like rms, I can understand. Because they live in an environment where they can go to the mit. They can find "information" offline. In books! They can speak with researchers to gain knowledge.

Internet is an open book and computers record everything.

Speaking about "privacy" and posts on a public forum, or a mailing list is a joke. So yes.... The "linux community" should be completly offline to take that VERY seriously.

If you can have information, learn, work and have a social life completly offline. It's a good thing but it's hard.

koszkonutek
Desconectado
Joined: 03/19/2020

> Speaking about "privacy" and posts on a public forum, or a mailing list is a joke. So yes.... The "linux community" should be completly offline to take that VERY seriously.

Under the word "privacy" I understand being free from spying as performed by NSA, Facebook, Google, etc. Abusively tracking ads and backdoors are obviously bad for privacy and deserve rejection. But I don't consider mere posting on a forum or having a HTTP GET request from my browser logged by some Apache daemon a violation of my privacy

damidu
Desconectado
Joined: 03/30/2021

"But I don't consider mere posting on a forum or having a HTTP GET request from my browser logged by some Apache daemon a violation of my privacy"

But, it's. A sysadmin, or a group of people can watch what you do. They can share, copy, past log files.
A person with a root password on a server you use can do all he want with your files.

All of that is based on trust. The only "arm" you have with a computer/internet is trust.

It is completely open for people who have power or are knowledgeable.

koszkonutek
Desconectado
Joined: 03/19/2020

> But, it's. A sysadmin, or a group of people can watch what you do. They can share, copy, past log files.

Distributing log files like that without a justified reason to do so may indeed be a violation of privacy. Mere making and keeping of logs is not, at least in my view. Others' views may be different, of course.

> All of that is based on trust. The only "arm" you have with a computer/internet is trust.

I don't argue against that. Yes, my privacy relies (among others) on trust I have for people building Debian/Devuan packages. It also relies on the programs I run being free software and on others reading their source code (because I cannot possibly review every program in my OS by myself). But as long as my trust is well-directed I don't consider "posting on a forum" to conflict "with speaking about privacy".

Also, these days, doing things offline may actually cause greater privacy risks that doing them online, due to cameras, COVID passports and similar

damidu
Desconectado
Joined: 03/30/2021

"Distributing log files like that without a justified reason to do so may indeed be a violation of privacy. Mere making and keeping of logs is not, at least in my view. Others' views may be different, of course."

From my view you should think about log files as not "private" information. If we look, we can find your ip address, browser, date etc. And it is stored. As an example, on the microsoft website, cookies are used for 1 year!. Internet was not made and is not a secure network. It's open. People can watch, store, duplicate your network traffic. arpanet was a network for sharing scientific files and access scientific machines over distance. It was NOT a military one. Now it's a "commercial" network.

And people who own network equipment have all the right, it's like a computer. Of course you have law but it's not serious.

libredrs

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/29/2012

..

andyprough
Desconectado
Joined: 02/12/2015

If you're worried about wasting energy, turn off the heater in the winter and the air conditioner in the summer. You'll save thousands of times more energy than you will by getting a newer computer.

Connochaetes

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 12/13/2017

After not heating for a while, the walls of inhabited flats will get moldy, especially moist areas like bathrooms. I think trying to get rid of the toxic mold, or tearing down the structure and rebuilding it, will be more expensive (probably not just financially, but also in terms of human health and environmental footprint) than proper Heizen and Lüften.

andyprough
Desconectado
Joined: 02/12/2015

Untrue. Housing in most habitable areas on earth will be mold-free with proper cleaning and proper ventilation to the outside air, and by taking steps to make sure moisture does not accumulate indoors. Some people live in areas that are not habitable without using high amounts of energy/electricity, such as living in a desert or next to a swamp. Living in those areas despite the high energy cost is not a great idea.

Connochaetes

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 12/13/2017

"taking steps to make sure moisture does not accumulate indoors"

I don't know those apart from Heizen and Lüften, and those devices that slowly "trap" some humidity, some are chemical, some electric. I think this is leaving software freedom, but I'm curious what you have in mind, so I will most likely read anything you post about this in the Troll Lounge, even if I might not reply soon.

andyprough
Desconectado
Joined: 02/12/2015

Just need to clean up water that spills on floors or accumulates on walls, and need to ventilate rooms properly (open windows) when you are bathing or cooking in the kitchen. Keep it dry, and keep it clean, use bleach sprays for cleaning where possible. If you live next to a swamp or in a very wet area, these steps may not be good enough, and you may have to use heat and air conditioning. But then people probably shouldn't be building their houses next to swamps.