BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA — Monday, September 8, 2014 — The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Debian Project today announced cooperation to expand and enhance h-node, a database to help users learn and share information about computers that work with free software operating systems.
While other databases list hardware that is technically compatible with GNU/Linux, h-node lists hardware as compatible only if it does not require any proprietary software or firmware. Information about hardware that flunks this test is also included, so users know what to avoid. The database lists individual components, like WiFi and video cards, as well as complete notebook systems.
Phi Beta Iota: This is an important advance. When combined with the pioneering of companies such as ThinkPenguin.com led by Christopher Waid — they produce open source laptops, routers, and other devices — this moves the open source ecology forward. Open Data and Open Government are counter-productive if they are held captive by expensive non-interoperable proprietary systems with very expensive licensing and maintenance fees.