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[GNU/FSF Press] FSF aims for partnership with hardware manufacturers

From: John Sullivan
Subject: [GNU/FSF Press] FSF aims for partnership with hardware manufacturers
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 16:06:22 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.110006 (No Gnus v0.6) Emacs/22.0.90 (gnu/linux)


FSF aims for partnership with hardware manufacturers

Boston, MA---March 1, 2007---The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today
released a paper entitled, "The road to hardware free from
restrictions", detailing ways major hardware manufacturers with power
in the market can work with the free software community to establish a
"mutually beneficial relationship."

The paper, available at,,
recommends manufacturers take action in five areas: supporting free
software drivers, ending the "Microsoft Tax", removing proprietary
BIOS locks, supporting a free BIOS, and rejecting Digital Restrictions

Peter Brown, FSF executive director, said, "With the growing
utilization of free software and the rejection of Microsoft's Vista,
large vendors like HP, Dell, Lenovo and Sun have the opportunity and
responsibility to acknowledge the market for hardware suitable for
free software users---hardware that meets ethical requirements for
user freedom, privacy and security. We hope that this paper will focus
attention on what needs to get done in the coming months."

A draft of the paper was first sent on January 10, 2007 to HP and Sun
Microsystems for their comment. Since then, several related
developments have demonstrated that the ideas in "The road to hardware
free from restrictions" are widely held within the technology

Kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman's open offer to all manufacturers
for free Linux kernel driver development has generated a sizable
response. Dell's recent solicitation of customer feedback was met
primarily with proposals to make all Dell machines optionally
available without Microsoft Windows, replacing it with either no
operating system or with a choice of GNU/Linux distributions.
Suggestions for Dell to support LinuxBIOS and to build their laptops
with hardware fully supported by free software drivers were also
popular choices.

In the paper, the Free Software Foundation expresses its eagerness to
build on this momentum by assisting hardware vendors interested in
making the recommended changes, and it encourages vendors to take a
fresh look at this largely unexplored opportunity.


The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to
promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and
redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and
use of free (as in freedom) software---particularly the GNU operating
system and its GNU/Linux variants---and free documentation for free
software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and
political issues of freedom in the use of software. Their web site,
located at, is an important source of information about
GNU/Linux. Donations to support their work can be made at They are headquartered in Boston, MA, USA.

Press Contact: For more information about this announcement or to
schedule an interview, please contact Peter Brown or John Sullivan at
+1-617-542-5942 or address@hidden


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