[Libre-soc-dev] [libre-soc-dev] Alex Oliva's intro, and RFC on mission

Alexandre Oliva oliva at gnu.org
Sat Nov 21 03:50:52 GMT 2020

On Nov 20, 2020, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton <lkcl at lkcl.net> wrote:

> you're basically not comfortable with the possibility that OEMs would
> use a processor for unethical purposes.

That was not quite the point, though I mentioned some unethical purposes
to justify what I was after, so I can see how that may have made it

I wanted users to be able to trust the hardware, not just customers.
I'm not saying we have to even have legal means to ensure intermediaries
don't strip the freedoms away, but I'd like to know whether we're all on
the same page WRT what really matters to me: user freedom.

As in, to me, if the project puts great hardware out and gains lots of
customers that all strip the freedoms away from their customers, I'd
call the project a very disappointing failure, and find that my efforts
were wasted, because my goal is not so much to offer hardware
manufacturers a freedom-respecting component as it is to get respect for
end users' freedom.

If our hardware ends up used to build perfectly inescapable jails,
that's the opposite of the outcome I'm aiming for.

That's not to say I have the tools to avoid that.  I draw inspiration
from strong copyleft, that enables intermediaries to put in whatever
evil features they wish, but that ensures downstream users have the
freedom to rip them off.  I don't know how to encode such protections in
hardware, where copyright licensing doesn't apply and the ability to
make changes, even having the sources, is far more limited, but I'd like
to know that, should we come across legal or technological tools that
would enable us to ensure users ultimately get the freedoms we wish to
build into the hardware, we won't have that discussion then and decide
we want to privilege our direct customers over downstream users.

For short, I wish to know that the dearest value to me is shared by the
project, and built into its mission, even if we lack the tools to
enforce it.

Your response suggests (as expected) that at least you share that value,
but I still miss that in the mission statement.

Alexandre Oliva, happy hacker  https://FSFLA.org/blogs/lxo/
   Free Software Activist         GNU Toolchain Engineer
        Vim, Vi, Voltei pro Emacs -- GNUlius Caesar

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