It's not the sentiment, it's the particulars.

Story: Richard Stallman Speaks About UEFITotal Replies: 8
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Jul 18, 2012
9:41 AM EDT
Quoting: Richard Stallman has finally spoken out on this subject. He notes that 'if the user doesn't control the keys, then it's a kind of shackle, and that would be true no matter what system it is.' He says, 'Microsoft demands that ARM computers sold for Windows 8 be set up so that the user cannot change the keys; in other words, turn it into restricted boot.' Stallman adds that 'this is not a security feature. This is abuse of the users. I think it ought to be illegal.'

I agree that the leverage being brought to bear by Microsoft is abominable, and they deserve to be condemned for their actions and bankrupted.

No one ought to buy their products, or the products of any manufacturer who goes along with this horrid scheme.

This is a time and opportunity to advocate open BIOS, where there may very well be such signature options integrated by smart developers.

"illegal", however, I cannot go along with.

Several times I have been challenged about my memory of RMS saying that proprietary software should be "illegal", rather than just condemned for good reasons. I hope this example of RMS's perfectly consistent position will remove the doubts so voiced.

I respect RMS much more than I disagree with him, and it is his epic consistency and fortitude which makes such respect possible.

Jul 18, 2012
10:45 AM EDT
Quoting:"illegal", however, I cannot go along with.


In this case and context, I disagree. What is next, for MS to tell us what to use and how to use its or any other software?

In this case, MS is drastically limiting our freedoms and we have a government that is supposed to establish and enforce laws to protect our freedom, what is wrong with that?


Jul 18, 2012
11:51 AM EDT
I'm with Fettoosh on this. Moreover, this is a plain consumer protection issue. Digital Restrictions Management (yes, I know that the industry uses a different "R" word), when it comes to entertainment content is bad enough. When it applies to the OS, locking down the device (and make no mistake, UEFI is DRM), it weakens the very concept of ownership.

If I have a device that locks me out, and it becomes unsupported, I have no value in that device and am essentially renting it for a flat fee rather than owning it. When the gov't steps in to support these companies in doing this (the DMCA, etc), they've essentially taken away my freedom and moved us closer to a corporate state. If you aren't a corporation or industry with enough finances to become politically relevant, you essentially have no voice. That means that gov't is essentially an arm of industry, and the population is essentially just a consumer base to be exploited.

So Stallman, despite being the poster boy for over the top eccentricity, is correct and has a point. If you buy something, it should be yours to do with as you please, including making modifications to it, just as long as your modifications don't represent a danger to yourself or others, and it doesn't interfere with other people's rights.

Jul 18, 2012
12:10 PM EDT
There are two aspects to this.

1) I see no issue with allowing any manufacturer to build and offer to sell whatever they like restricted or otherwise. It is the job of us the consumer to be more discerning in what we buy. Those manufacturers will ultimately build and sell what we demand.

2) Microsoft is large and a convicted monopolist. It should rightly be the role of government to intervene if they are found to be strong-arming hardware manufacturers to do their bidding by exerting their monopoly position. Even on this point, I still feel nervous about abdicating my responsibility as a consumer to the government. I will not buy Microsoft products and advocate this stance to others.


Jul 18, 2012
12:13 PM EDT
@Bob: "Several times I have been challenged about my memory of RMS..."

Duly noted. As I stated above, I see no problem with any manufacturer offering to sell restricted hardware or software. It is the responsibility of ours to reject it. Pure economic pressure will see it fail.

Android, although far from perfect in this respect, is heading in the right direction and inarguably successful.

Jul 18, 2012
2:16 PM EDT
Regarding RMS, I think Bob and I have been on the same page for a long time. (Yes, Bob, I'll admit there are such issues :) ) I have long stated that RMS seeks to limit my freedoms with his stand that proprietary software is immoral and should be banned. I don't share that philosophy at all. I want to have the choice to use the best tool for the job, period, even if it happens to be a proprietary tool. All else being equal then, yes, I see strong advantages to FOSS.

I also mostly agree with skelband, with one exception. I have no problem with government enforcing laws. I have a real problem with the fact that governments have been reticent about doing so in the case of Microsoft.

Jul 18, 2012
2:20 PM EDT
Quoting:It should rightly be the role of government to intervene if they are found to be strong-arming hardware manufacturers to do their bidding by exerting their monopoly position.

Well said and I agree. But, isn't the case, when MS demands from OEMs to make their products, which aren't MS products, in a specific way that limits consumer's freedoms?

I believe this is a case of illegal abuse of monopoly power.


Jul 18, 2012
2:21 PM EDT
?The problem isn't with "us"'s with the soccer moms and grandparents that walk into best buy and allow the sales people to tell them what to buy. I fully agree that we, as consumers, are responsible for our purchases and ultimately we have no one else to blame when those purchases are less than ideal for us, We put too much trust in a sales force that is rewarded for selling the most expensive units and not actually finding out what that customer really needs.

Heck, most of the single core hyperthread machines we give to our kids are sufficient for most home computers. Sure I have a monster quad core but I built it from scratch and didn't go over 300 bucks to do it, but not many people have that skill set or time.

If you ask me, the consumer of computer equipment will remain uneducated and still rely upon sales drones to tell them what is best for them. The gubment isn't going to open that can of worms any time soon. It's time for mom and pop to understand what they are doing when they walk into a store to purchase technology.

Jul 18, 2012
2:24 PM EDT
> I have no problem with government enforcing laws.

As long as you add the qualifier "just" in front of laws, neither do I. There are some laws I have problems with the governments enforcing, even if they are passed with all due legal process.

Perhaps unfortunately, further discussion of same would very quicky reach TOS violation territory. But the qualification is important enough that it needs to be noted.

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