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Upcycling Android

Open Letter

The universal right to install any software on any device

Software design is crucial for the ecodesign and sustainability of products and hardware. Free Software systems and services enable reuse, repurposing and interoperability of devices. The universal right to freely choose operating systems, software and services is crucial for a more sustainable digital society.

To: Legislators in the European Union

In copy: Citizens of the European Union

The ongoing digitization of infrastructures and services comes along with a continuously growing number of electronic devices that are connected to the Internet - be it in private, public or business environments. Many of these devices need more energy and natural resources to be produced than the energy they consume during their entire lifespan. And way too many of these devices are being wasted and not reparable simply because the software stops working or is not being updated anymore.

Once the pre-installed software stops users from continuing to use their hardware, restrictive ownership models prevent users from helping themselves to enjoy longer use of their devices. Restrictions span from physically locking down hardware, to technical obscurity by using proprietary software, to legal restrictions via software licenses and end user license agreements. This way, manufacturers often prohibit repairability, access and reuse of their devices. Even after purchase, customers often do not really own their devices. They are not able to do what they want with their very own devices. If you cannot install the software you want on your own device – you don’t own it.

We, the signees of this open letter,

That is why we ask legislators in the European Union to make use of the historic chance and enable a more sustainable use of electronic products and devices with a universal right to install and run any software on any device. To this end, we demand that:

Users have the right to freely choose operating systems and software running on their devices

three gears in different colors and sizes integrate with each other, while one has the coding abbreviation  on it

Our tablets, phones and other connected devices are general purpose computers. Replacing software and operating systems on these devices enables us to extend the initial lifespan of a device and to make full use of our hardware. For the ability to reuse and repurpose our resources in a creative and sustainable way we need the universal right to install and develop any operating system and software we want on any of our devices. Any legal, technical or other obstacles to reuse these devices for any purpose must not be allowed.

Users have the right to freely choose between service providers to connect their devices with

a phone-like device out of which come three arrows, one to the left, one to the right and one straight ahead

Users must have the free choice of providers offering software related services, meaning they can use the device from one manufacturer with the service provided by another. Many connected clients today go to waste simply because their online services go offline. Free choice of services allows these clients to be reused by connecting to another service.

Operating systems and embedded software determine possible interactions between generic sensors, modules and systems with their connected online services. For users to exercise free choice of services, they must be able to use the device from one manufacturer with any online service, which could be supplied by any other third party or by themselves. Connected services as well as the software on connected devices and applications must offer interoperability and full functionality of a device's initial purpose with the use of Open Standards.

Devices are interoperable and compatible with open standards

four different geometrical figures are connected via bridges

Software designs and architectures determine accessibility and compatibility of hardware via standards, drivers, tools, and interfaces. Proprietary software and protocols hinder competition among manufacturers, undermine repairability of devices and create an artificial incompatibility of different devices within the same infrastructure. Interoperability of single devices however is crucial for the creation of sufficient, sustainable and long-lasting IT infrastructures. To enable interoperability, manufacturers must ensure that any data necessary to run a device's primary function is compatible with and possible to import/export in open standards.

Source code of drivers, tools, and interfaces are published under a free license

a phone like device looks like a lock that has been opened

Smaller components of a device often require specific drivers, tools, and interfaces to operate. Users need full access and free reusability of the source code of those drivers, tools, and interfaces to analyse and integrate a device within a set of interconnected devices from different manufacturers. Source code reusability is also key to exercise the full right to repair for any third-parties from professional repair shops to repair cafés to end users.

A free license is any license that gives everyone the four freedoms to use, study, share and improve the software, including Free Software and Open Source Software licenses. The obligation to publish drivers, tools, and interfaces under such a free license after market entry are key for full access to our devices and exercising the universal right to repair.

Sign the letter

This campaign is completed, so you can no longer sign the open letter.

Supporting organisations

abelli Abelli - Association belge de promotion du logiciel libre
abul ABUL – Association bordelaise des utilisateurs de logiciel libre
aful AFUL – Association francophone des utilisateurs de logiciel libre
alder Alder IT
ARN Alsace Réseau Neutre
ANSOL - Associação Nacional para o Software Livre ANSOL - Associação Nacional para o Software Livre
APELL – European Open Source Business Association APELL – European Open Source Business Association
atossa ATOSSA
April April
Aquilenet Aquilenet
noerus Arci Noerus aps
A Astrolabe
Aukfood Aukfood
Back Market Back Market
Barcelona Free Software Group Barcelona Free Software Group
Bundesverband Digitale Sicherheit e.V. Bundesverband Digitale Sicherheit e.V.
calyx Calyx Institute
cemea CEMEA - Training Centre for Active Education Methods
chaotikum Chaotikum
Citizen D Citizen D
Code Lutin Code Lutin
Colectic Colectic
Commons Commons-Institut
Co Commown
Colibris Colibris
Collabora Collabora Productivity
Computertruhe Computertruhe e.V.
copernicani Copernicani
d3 D3 - Defesa dos Direitos Digitais
d64 D64 - Zentrum für Digitalen Fortschritt e. V.
Deutscher Naturschutzring Deutscher Naturschutzring
Devtank Devtank
dezentrale dezentrale
Digitalcourage Digitalcourage
Digitale Gesellschaft CH Digitale Gesellschaft CH
Dilolabs Dilolabs
Document Foundation Document Foundation
Dofoss Do-FOSS
Domain Domaine Public
Donestech Donestech
e Foundation /e/ Foundation
Easter-eggs Easter-eggs
Edualter Edualter
Environmental Coalition on Standards Environmental Coalition on Standards
EDRi – European Digital Rights EDRi – European Digital Rights
effi Electronic Frontier Finland
Elektronisk Forpost Norge Elektronisk Forpost Norge
Epicenter Works Epicenter Works
ESOP ESOP - Associação de Empresas de Software Open Source Portuguesas
Etica Etica Digitale
European Right to Repair Campaign European Right to Repair Campaign
exarius Exarius
fabulous Fab Lab Fabulous St. Pauli e.V
Fairphone Fairphone
f-droid F-Droid
ffdn Fédération des Fournisseurs d'Accès Internet Associatifs
FifF - Forum InformatikerInnen für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung e.V. FifF - Forum InformatikerInnen für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung e.V.
fossgis FOSSGIS e.V.
FSFE Free Software Foundation Europe
French Data Network French Data Network
Germanwatch Germanwatch
GFOSS – Greek Open Technologies Alliance GFOSS – Greek Open Technologies Alliance
GreekLUG GreekLUG (Greek Association of FS/OSS Users)
globenet Globenet
GNOME Foundation GNOME Foundation
hadoly Hadoly
Haiku Haiku Inc
Heinlein Support Heinlein Support
Hostsharing Hostsharing eG
iel24 IEL24
iFixit iFixit
iloth ILOTH - Internet Libre et Ouvert à Tous dans l'Hérault
interhop Interhop
internet-czas-dzialac Internet Czas Dzialac
interpeer Interpeer
intevation Intevation
Iodé Iodé
italianlinux Italian Linux Society
kaz Kaz
lamouette La Mouette
amis Les Amis de la Terre
LibreItalia Libre Italia
linux07 Linux07
linux trent LinuxTrent
Linux User Group Nürnberg Linux User Group Nürnberg
logilab Logilab
luki LUKi - Linux User im Bereich der Kirchen e.V
Lunduke Journal Lunduke Journal
Mailbox.org Mailbox.org
>make Utopia_ >make Utopia_
mint mint.lgbt
>monocles Monocles
>montpel Montpel'libre
Mouvement Ecologique Mouvement Ecologique
NABU NABU - Naturschutzbund Deutschland
Navcoin Navcoin
Netzbiotop Netzbiotop e.V. Chaos Computer Club Dresden C3D2
Netzwerk Reparatur Initiativen Netzwerk Reparatur Initiativen
neutrinet Neutrinet asbl
Nextcloud Nextcloud
Nitrokey Nitrokey
nixnet NixΝet
Norwegian Unix User Group Norwegian Unix User Group
Nos oignons Nos oignons
Oekozenter Pafendall Oekozenter Pafendall
genova Open Genova APS
ooni OONI Open Observatory of Network Interference
Open Knowledge Foundation BE Open Knowledge Foundation Belgium
Open Knowledge Foundation DE Open Knowledge Foundation Germany
Open Nederland Open Nederland
openSUSE openSUSE
opentelecom opentelecom
OSBA – Open Source Business Alliance OSBA – Open Source Business Alliance
Ossrox Ossrox
pangea Pangea
Parinux Parinux
petites singularités petites singularités
pica Pica Pica HackLab
post concept Post Concept Lab
PostmarketOS PostmarketOS
Purism Purism
Replicant Replicant
Ritimo Ritimo
Runder Tisch Reparatur Runder Tisch Reparatur
Selbstbestimmt Digital Selbstbestimmt Digital e.V.
Shift Shift
Softreign Softreign
sfsconservancy Software Freedom Conservancy
solution Solution Libre
sourcehut SourceHut
tactic Tactic Asbl
tmci Tarare Micro
tarsis Tarsis.net
Tinternet Tinternet & cie
Ubuntu-fr Ubuntu-fr
Unibinare Unbinare
Versöhnungskirche Neunburg Versöhnungskirche Neunburg
Vrijschrift Vrijschrift
Wikimedia DE Wikimedia Germany
Wikimedia IT Wikimedia Italia
Wikimedia PT Wikimedia Portugal
wtf WTF Kooperative eG Werkkooperative der TechnikfreundInnen
yunohost YunoHost Project
24ème 24ème
42l 42l Student Association

Does your organisation or company support the users’ right to freely choose operating systems, software and services? Please reach us with an email to contact [at] fsfe [dot] org to sign the open letter and join the alliance.