Group: Hardware/Tablet

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John's braindump:

The FSF wants to do something to make a completely free tablet a reality.

An important step here is the video hardware. Some chipsets have free drivers, but rely on proprietary firmware. The FSF is considering a project to replace this proprietary firmware with free firmware.

1) We should choose a chipset that is very new, so that the product will still be useful for some time.

2) We should choose something that is used in many different products, if possible.

3) We should choose something that is present in products that have the best chance of being fully free otherwise. If it has a USB port, it can get free wifi that way, for example.

4) We should pursue better relations with manufacturers to get documentation at least, or in the best case to convince them based on our reverse engineering success to do the right thing from the beginning.

We may start with an eink reader, because it's much easier to do, it would be a big step, and it would build momentum toward doing a full tablet.

We are chatting about the project in #fsf-tablet on

About Lima:

comparaison of chipsets


Recent enough chipsets/drivers that could be used are:

  • ath9k (mini-pcie) if the SOC has a PCI lane
  • ath9k-htc (USB) The think penguin version requires 500mA, no device will work with known Replicant tablets supporting only 100mA or 200mA: AR9271 itself needs ~200mA, Unex DNUA-93F (rebranded by Tehnoetic and Think Penguin?) can use 300mA


See the page on SOCs for more details.

see also