For a while now, the Free Software Foundation has had it’s RYF (Respects Your Freedom) hardware certification program. Companies send samples of their product to the FSF for testing. If it passes muster, the company is able to use the FSF RYF certification mark. The FSF presumes that people need not fully understand technology, and can instead trust the FSF and this certification mark, and know that this research has been done for them. This year, they’ve certified 6 new devices, half of which are legacy retroffitted hardware, half are new devices:
“The RYF certification program is one of the most important parts of the FSF’s work — and one of the most promising and successful parts. Since announcing our first RYF-certified product in October 2012 (the LulzBot AO-100 3D printer), we have certified a total of eighteen different hardware devices sold by five different companies. In 2015 alone we awarded RYF certification to six new devices:
* 3 laptops: Libreboot X200 and T400 from Minifree, and the Taurinus X200 from Libiquity.
* 2 3D-printers: The LulzBot TAZ 5 and the LulzBot Mini by Aleph Objects.
* 1 wireless router: The Free Software Wireless-N Mini Router (TPE-R1100) sold by ThinkPenguin.”
Bluntly, I really don’t understand why the FSF isn’t doing more to push crowdfunding of their “Free Hardware”, or even mentioning their Free Hardware concept in the RYF hardware program, or giving presentations at Embedded Linux Conference and elsewhere to discuss this with OEMs, and not helping any of the open architecture designs (GPL’ed OpenRISC, BSD LowRISC/RISC-V, etc.), or mentioning available and up-and-coming devices (eg, Inverse Path’s USB Armory, Olimex’s OSH ARM64 laptop, some of the new devices that can run Libreboot w/o blobs, etc.. I was hoping for more when RMS blessed CrowdSupply.com as funding source for GPL hardware… It looks like the best we can hope for is the above RYF Donate button. 😦