How about a real hardware keyboard for the phone?


just this once … don’t put your money where your mouth is


The keyboard is not meant to be a general purpose computer, it does not require proprietary drivers or utility software, and I’d be satisfied with a non-upgradable, pure hardware device having the same functionality, so therefore I don’t consider the firmware a threat to my freedom in this case. The device could nevertheless contribute to security or privacy issues, in the same way that a USB flash drive or a Bluetooth mouse could. Freedom would be more of a concern for someone who specifically values programmability of the device.


Does the nonfree firmware run inside the keyboard or in the linux kernel on your phone?


The firmware runs inside the keyboard.


Is it loaded from modifiable memory or is it static and unchanging?


The firmware is loaded from flash memory inside the keyboard. The keyboard presents itself as a USB mass storage device with a FAT partition. Loading a specifically-named file and pressing a specific awkward key combination initiates the firmware update.

Additionally, a configuration file exists, which can be modified in a similar manner, to customise the behaviour of the device. However, the only way provided to generate custom configuration files is a non-free web application requiring a log-in. (Yuck. :face_vomiting:)


It sounds like RMS does not approve:

  • Upgradeable nonfree firmware
  • Depends on SaaSS for configuration

Interestingly enough, if we broke the configuration and upgrade options, RMS would approve of the device as it no longer runs “software” and does not “promote” SaaSS.

Non-upgradeable firmware is seen as circuitry and therefore hardware by RMS and does not break RYF certification.


That seems like a fairly tenuous distinction. The manufacturer would still get their money, and other customers would still get upgradable firmware and be encouraged to use SaaSS. On a personal level, is there really any difference to your freedom between “breaking” these functionalities and taking a personal vow never to use them?

Of course, a lot of devices contain upgradable firmware that the user is never intended to upgrade (e.g. SD cards). As far as I can tell, this is acceptable to RMS (from a freedom standpoint), but it still presents a problem from a security and privacy standpoint.


I don’t see a difference. If I were you, I’d buy the keyboard you want as long as there isn’t a freer alternative.


I recommend you all to use ==>
IPazzPort KP21BT Bluetooth Touchpad