Wednesday, 17 September 2014 12:31

FSF, Debian join to promote free software-compatible hardware Featured

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The Free Software Foundation and the Debian GNU/Linux project have joined to expand work on h-node, a database that identifies hardware that will work with free software.

In contrast to other databases that list hardware that is technically compatible with GNU/Linux, h-node only lists hardware that will not require any proprietary software of firmware to work with free software operating systems.

A media release quoted the FSF's executive director John Sullivan as saying: "Unlike other common GNU/Linux distributions, installing official Debian by default means installing only free software. As long as Debian users do not add additional package repositories, their systems are a reliable source of fully free compatibility information. We're looking forward to working with Debian to help free software users get the hardware they need, and encourage the companies who provide it."

Debian Project leader Lucas Nussbaum said: "By collaborating with h-node, Debian for the first time has the opportunity to join efforts with other free software communities on the assembly of a database of hardware that doesn't require anything outside the Debian main archive to work properly.

"Debian is confident that the fruits of this collaboration will result in the largest, curated database of Debian-compatible hardware, and invites all Debian community members to contribute hardware compatibility information to h-node."

The h-node project was started by Antonio Gallo, who continues to be the project's lead developer. The FSF provides infrastructure and support. The software powering the site is also distributed as free software under version 3 of the GNU General Public Licence.

Users can contribute either by running one of the FSF's endorsed distributions, or Debian with only packages from the default main archive installed. Developers and translators can contribute by working on the site's code.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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