Bonum Certa Men Certa

GNU/Linux Has Conquered the World, But Users' Freedom Has Not (Impediments Remain in Hardware)

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Sep 25, 2023

Installing one's system of choice on a device is very hard, sometimes impossible.

Climate Change

THE mobile (device) and embedded space is dominated by GNU and Linux. Sure, some of it is Android or Alpine (i.e. no GNU), but some is Debian/Ubuntu (like ROS [1] below). The BSDs also have some presence in that space, but Windows is a rare sight. To Windows it's a no-go zone. It's unfit for purpose.

For those who value freedom there's the "Librem" range of things, running Debian without proprietary bits [2,3], and lighter options exist such as SparkFun [4] or Arduino ("Industry 4.0", i.e. buzzwords, back again [5-6]). Then there's the somewhat higher end, e.g. Raspberry Pi & clones [7,8].

10 years ago, as in back in 2013, Techrights used to write habitual articles about the growth of GNU/Linux in this space (Android had only begun to become highly dominant worldwide) and now that we're changing the site's software and style we might revisit the subject again. We want to see (in context) where advocacy has taken us and how it can be improved. As so-called 'consumers' we can help set trends by altering patterns of demand.

GNU/Linux "world domination" is well behind us, but freedom did not end up coming along. "Librem" is generally trying to do the right thing, but to most people the "Linux" device to use is some Android thing, irrespective of the level of spying and user restriction. Perhaps in the coming decade more commentary will be needed along the lines of hackability or modifiability. In Daily Links we made a subsection called "Open Hardware" for this purpose.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas September '23 Community Meeting

    On September 21 ROS-I Consorium Americas hosted a community meeting where a number of topics were covered. The presentations have been made available and the recording may be found over at the ROS-I YouTube channel.

    To kick things off I reviewed some Consortium initiatives. Most recently we have been addressing concerns around industrial_core. There have been comments on a ROS 2 support issue about porting of industrial_core. However, as pointed out on the GitHub repository we will not be porting industrial_core due to the desire to take advantange of advances in OEM provided external motion interfaces and new approaches in driver development such as ros2_control based drivers and the recent Yaskawa micro-ROS based driver.

    The idea is that OEMs will see opportunity in engaging the ROS community by offering a driver they are comfortable supporting, therefore there are not issues relative to performance as OEM changes occur within their software stack. We look forward to following up with an updated industrial driver specification, and will keep the community engaged on progress on that front.

  2. Purism's new 11-inch Linux tablet runs a full desktop version of PureOS
    The Librem 11 slate's modest specs are more than enough to tackle your everyday tasks quite well.
  3. Introducing the Librem 11

    Introducing the Librem 11 Tablet. This powerful tablet comes preloaded with PureOS running our Phosh user interface. The Librem 11 is our first product launching with our latest and greatest release of PureOS code name, Crimson. Enjoy a user experience free of data mining.

  4. SparkFun launches IoT Brushless motor driver
    SparkFun has recently unveiled an ESP32-based development board specifically designed for precise control of a Three Phase Brushless Gimbal Motor. This versatile product can be used for a wide range of applications, including robotics, drones, and more. The Wiki pages for this product indicate that the module integrates the ESP32-D0WDQ6 System-on-Chip from Espressif Systems.
  5. Industry automation? There’s an app for that! With FLECS and Portenta X8

    FLECS and Arduino Pro are partnering to make Industry 4.0 easier for you.

  6. G520 Series Cellular Gateways Customized for Industry 4.0
    Lantronix has expanded its G520 series transport pack rugged routers with new additions that support 5G and 4G CAT-4 connectivity. The new devices also include additional security features required in applications such as transportation, healthcare and utilities.
  7. Retro arcade device for Raspberry Pi
    Pimoroni recently featured the Picade, a retro arcade machine powered by the popular Raspberry Pi board. The company is also currently offering a limited-time promotion that includes a free Raspberry Pi 4 8GB, a PSU, and a 32GB microSD card for storage.
  8. Home Assistant Green – A $99 Home Assistant gateway with a Rockchip RK3566 processor

    The developers of the popular Home Assistant open-source automation framework have introduced the Home Assistant Green gateway based on a Rockchip RK3566 processor providing a lower-cost alternative to the Raspberry Pi CM4-based Home Assistant Yellow gateway. The Home Assistant Green was created to cater to the needs of people who did not need all of the advanced features enabled in the Home Assistant Yellow gateway and also because of the supply and pricing issues with the Raspberry Pi CM4. Just like its predecessor, the new gateway ships with Home Assistant OS and comes with everything that beginners may need to get started with Home Assistant in just one box.

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