01 May 2007

Manifesto for Free Appliances

More open goodness:

Just as there is a need for Free Software, there is a need for free (as in speech) appliances.

Free Appliances can be modified or enhanced using GNU/Linux tools or other Open Source Software, preferably licensed as GPLv3. They have no binaries without source code. They adhere to generally accepted standards as much as possible. Their documentation is open. They favor open file formats since information in open file formats should not require DRM. They do not use proprietary components when there are generic ones widely available. (For example: batteries should be replaceable.)

We need to know that products that we use have no hidden functionality and that we can enjoy their full capability and value. Such devices must be open because that is the only way their functionality can be verified and audited. Procedures need to be available to assure that no malware has been introduced. In the event that user modifications go wrong, there must be a simple user reset of the device to its original state.

Examples include smart house, open telephone, wearable computer, emergency alarm and a "freed computer":

By now it should be possible to configure a computer which is completely free. It should have a free BIOS, hardware with open drivers, and a complete complement of freed software.

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