Does RYF certification even matter

Continuing the discussion from New Post: Thank You For Joining Us:

Looking at the dates of the most recently certified devices ( ) combined with the statement that the librem key was submitted multiple years ago really makes me question the value of the certification itself.

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The RYF certification matters a lot, because it advertises free software to people who are not aware of it’s importance. In my opinion, the largest problem of FSF and free software movement is too few people know about it.


Very import getting the RYF CERTIFICATE for Librem 5.

I agree, and most peoples just thinking on the dirty, unfreedom opensource.

Even if by the time the FSF gets around to it they’re no longer being sold?

Maybe if they had a mechanism similar to “patent pending” so that there was a way to confirm the certification had been submitted and progress could be monitored from the outside?

I just don’t see how a certification that takes so many years can really be relevant.

I doubt this has any meaningful impact, and advocates for the product to bring value to the cert rather than the cert to bring value to the product.

I agree that the goals are worth supporting and striving for, but if a product is only certified at the end of its life cycle then it isn’t advertising the cert, the cert isn’t bringing value to the company producing the product, and in turn the certification also isn’t bringing value to the customer (the manufacturer is doing that of their own valition).

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I guess that something it not right on Librem 5 then that is why FSF is not approving the RYF, i not sure what is wrong, but on SOFTWARE side you can see how Purism Developers is promoting propietary packages to install manually (firmwares), so this is not right for FSF, at the same times devs like @dos is pushing opensource-propietary packages like Waydroid to Pure OS also Firefox is including on PureOS as far i know on GNU System Firefox is not permitted, because the icon is NOT free. So i guess that PureOS could be kicked out from FSF. At the same time the massive opensource user on Purism is destroying compatibility with FSF and RYF verify.

None of that accounts for the librem key that was submitted years before the Librem5. I think there’s a genuine possibility for a Librem Key v2 to come out and v1 to be no longer sold by the time it is FSF certified.

I guess FSF supporters should start asking them how it’s going…


Does it matter…to whom? FOSS people? Normies?

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Depending the degree of commonality between the two versions there could still be benefit in getting v1 certified - because then an application to get v2 certified is not starting from nothing.

I’m not convinced that’s the case based on the existing certified devices.

I mean ultimately we can each only speak for ourselves, though it can be reliably inferred via the context clues that the question is does it matter yo the members of the forum since theyre the only people that can take part in the discussion. I think I’ve made clear the starting point of the conversation and what I consider a valid concern.

If the goal is to define all possible groups and the varying degrees to which the certification may or may not matter to each group without being a member of most of the groups, especially if the group names are going to be derogatory for the sake of being derogatory, then that is a useless conversation that can go elsewhere.

Another possible group is … Does it matter to Purism?

… because that then takes it beyond members of this forum, as Purism can use it in marketing. Yes, it’s true that many (most?) consumers won’t understand the implications, so Purism would also have to educate the market.

As someone who has already bought, clearly RYF certification can’t influence that purchasing decision.

Speaking as someone who doesn’t care one way or the other, RYF certification certain my doesn’t hurt anything.

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Just to note, the Librem 5 was “tentatively recommended” in FSF’s 2020 Gift Giving Guide:

While I will buy products I need/want not on the FSF’s “Respects Your Freedom” list of approved product’s, all things being equal, I do take their recommendations seriously.

For example, I bought this product (TPE-R1200 Wireless-N Mini Router v2). It is a nice little router :slight_smile:


What I want:

  1. A mobile device that puts the user back into control of software and hardware.
    Especially in regard to not emit LTE/WiFi/BT when the user does not wish to do so.

  2. A mobile device that is not made in People’s Republic of China.

Do I care about the Firefox icon not being free? Definitely not.
Do I prefer a useless device just because key functionality is not yet free? Definitely not.

A perfect example is Firefox.
Firefox is currently simply the best working browser on Librem 5.
A browser is an essential piece of software for every device that has Internet connectivity.
Without Firefox Librem 5 is not a usable device and the user is forced to turn back to devices that are much worse than Librem 5 in terms of freedom.
I would go even further. For me, considering that there are important functionalities for which there are no well functioning options at all, it would be a total waste to invest time in Gnome Web at the moment. For Gnome Web there is a good alternative - Firefox. So it is better to focus in areas, where we still have no options at all.

As I mentioned earlier for example being able to make Video Calls with the front camera in apps like Signal would be a pretty key feature for me.
I don’t get any utility from a totally free device if I have to own a second totally non-free device.

So to sum up, do these certifications matter? NO, they don’t.


At the end of the day what does freedom means?

I might be free to cut a steak with a baseball bat.
But the problem is, that a baseball bat is not really a tool to cut a steak.
So I end up still not being able to cut my steak and ultimately I end up not being free to cut is just because I don’t have the right tool to do so.

This is a very implausible statement.
New software products come on the market all the time and at the beginning nobody knows about them. Many of the successful software products became popular without large marketing budgets. Especially nowadays with the power of social media. So it is not about popularity.

In my opinion, the largest problem is, that FSF is often not the best solution for the users. As an example again - The GNOME Web.
If GNOME Web was the best browser, I would use it. But it is not. Period.

A person who does not care, will simply use the best product. And a person who cares about FSF might end up not using FSF because of lacking comfort.
So FSF must become the best product in some areas in order to become popular.

FSF is not a product. It’s a non-profit organization trying to explain to users why free software is important for their own freedom. Firefox is also free software, and many use it without knowing about it. Gnome Web is not even developed by the FSF AFAIK.

Do you support freedom of speech because it gives you better “products” than the alternatives? No, it’s crucial for the democracy. Same here.

Kyle seems to think the FSF is too resource constrained to have got round to certifying the Librem Key. I think though that if they are so resource constrained that they can’t evaluate a product like that in several years, it becomes hard to see what modern products they could have the resources to reasonably evaluate. It’s hard to see how the certification could remain useful and relevant with that little functioning capacity.

If the issue is not purely capacity but particular points of the certification not being met I think it would be helpful for the FSF to develop slightly more nuanced categories that better acknowledge the difficulty of producing genuinely open products. They could keep the “pure” certified status, while perhaps also having a “best currently available device in category” or similar for areas where a totally free option doesn’t (maybe cannot) exist but where there are still huge differences between “mostly respects the user” and “doesn’t even try”.

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Gnome Web has improved a lot recently and is (IMO) becoming a viable alternative. Personally I would also prioritize areas for which there are currently no good options, but having a strong alternative browser engine implementation is important I think.