*countable infinities only

Adam Williamson awilliam at redhat.com
Fri Jun 15 18:15:46 UTC 2012

On Fri, 2012-06-15 at 12:05 -0400, Jay Sulzberger wrote:

> In the case of ARM devices Microsoft's statement of its position
> is different: If the ARM device is shipped with a Microsoft OS,
> then Fedora will never be installed on the device.  No putting
> one's own key in, no getting a special
> Microsoft/Vendor/Certificate-Authority managed key for the whole
> Fedora project, no nothing, just gross suppression of Fedora and
> all free OSes.

I'm not sure that kind of language is really helpful to anyone.

Locked devices are what they are. They exist and have for years.
Everything is getting more blurred now, given that it's perfectly
possible for a microwave oven or wristwatch to have enough power to
qualify it as a 'personal computer' by 1980s standards, and very few of
them permit easy use of arbitrary code. Cellphones and tablets are
personal computers in all sorts of ways; ditto with them, there has
never been any kind of convention in those products that the user should
be granted easy access to running arbitrary software, and they almost
invariably are not.

It just is what it is. You can choose to draw a somewhat arbitrary
position that all computing devices have to allow ultimate control to
their users and refuse to use any that don't, if you really insist. But
it seems a bit of a quixotic 'cause' to take up. The open nature of the
x86 PC architecture is to a large extent a historical accident more than
the result of some sort of great ideological conviction, and the results
of trying to graft ideological convictions on to it after the fact seem,
to me, slightly forced and unconvincing. 

So, look. A Windows RT device is going to be just like just about any
cellphone or tablet - a device which can be used for many of the
purposes for which we're accustomed to using x86-based PCs, with much
more restriction on user freedom than x86-based PCs have usually had. If
that's not a thing you want, then you're free not to buy one. I
certainly wouldn't recommend anyone buy one for the purpose of
installing another operating system on it; that'd be silly (except, of
course, in cases where particularly compelling implementations turn out
to be trivially easy to unlock/root, which is often the case with
Android phones). But I find it really difficult to truly believe that
the mere existence of such devices is in itself inherently evil or
wrong. There's no particular deception or duplicity going on. No-one is
telling people they'll easily be able to execute arbitrary code on such
devices. You go in with your eyes open, you know what you're getting,
and you can choose whether it's something you want to participate in or
not. If you don't, well, don't.
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | identi.ca: adamwfedora

More information about the devel mailing list