Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 01:54

Are you in the Las Vegas area? Planning to attend DEFCON? We'll be vending at the world's longest running and largest underground hacking conference. If you ever wanted to check us out in person we'll be in attendance at this years event. It's a great opportunity to do a meet and greet and see what we're really all about. Plus check out some of the laptops, desktops, and other great items in our catalog.

For more information see

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 - 18:52

HOPE 12 will take place on July 20, 21, and 22nd, 2018 at Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. H.O.P.E. stands for Hackers On Planet Earth, one of the most creative and diverse hacker events in the world. It's been happening since 1994.

Join us for three full days and nights of activities, including more of the provocative and enlightening speakers that the HOPE conferences are known for. Featured speakers have included Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Kevin Mitnick, Richard Stallman, Steve Wozniak, and William Binney, amongst others. This years keynote will be Cory Doctorow.

Come check out our product showcase which will be on display at our booth! You can also ask us about the status of the EOMA68 modular computing standard and the first truly libre desktop and laptop housing (shipping soon) based around the Libre Tea Computer Card. For those that aren't aware of the EOMA68 project it is a modular computing standard that involves a card (the first of which is the Libre Tea Computer Card) and a housing (be it a desktop, laptop, router, or something else) where everything including the keyboard controller, bootloader, and CPU don't require any proprietary bits. You can also check out lots of other cool hardware including some of our older boring and backdoor'd intel based laptops if you so like.

Visit the HOPE 12 web site for more info

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 - 18:38

We've got lots of great news this week. From HOPE coming up to a new event we'll be attending: Def Con! We'll see you there. But we also released our very first podcast.

We'll be talking tech, freedom, and everything libre! From interviews with the leading experts in the GNU/Linux world such as Rubén Rodríguez a.k.a. quidam to Eric Schultz on issues such as the FCC's attack on free software. We'll also be squeezing in the latest in tech with hardware demonstrations and general tech news.

For this week's episode, we talked with Patrick Binder, lead project coordinator of the Manchester New Hampshire MeshNet exploratory group both about Porcfest's first mesh network and what he was putting together along with others in Manchester New Hampshire. Other topics included the end of the road for Ross Ulbrick's appeals, supreme court rules cops need warrants to secure cell phone location data, and the new release of Linux Mint 19 (and the difference between free and non-free software).

Thanks for tuning in!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 - 13:58

State Sales Tax Rates

An unexpected notoriously bad Supreme Court ruling has come down in a case regarding the collection of sales taxes. The Supreme Court has decided that it's more important to protect large brick and mortar retail businesses than it is to protect smaller online operators. With this ruling businesses that do not have operations in other states will have to do the impossible task of collecting and distributing sales taxes to more than 12,000 different taxing authorities. They have effectively undermined small business by placing an undue and unique burden on them.

As a result of this ruling we will start collecting a small 'administrative fee' that will be determined based around a states average general purpose sales tax rate and small collection fee to offset any liabilities this ruling may ultimately impose on us and cover any sales taxes that may eventually have to be distributed for all states that currently impose a sales tax once states or federal government have figured out how that will work. There is federal legislation that is being proposed to resolve this impossible situation, but until it does we will have to collect fees to offset liability for those having goods shipped to them in these states thus offsetting some level of risk. This ruling does ignore reality in that not even the largest companies can accurately or correctly figure out the taxes owed for every address as the jurisdictional boundary lines do not match zip code data. And despite what some have erroneously argued there is no workable means of determining what taxing bodies need be paid let alone what taxes apply for any given delivery address or product nationally. The same product in many states may have more than one tax rate depending on how the product is used/installed/advertised/etc- or even vary depending on what day it is sold ("sales tax holidays" is what they call them in some states, but what products are tax free depends on the state and it could be illegal to collect a tax not owed). It would also be cost prohibitive to mail a $2 check for $2.80 in taxes to some small tax jurisdiction where you have only had one customer buy anything ever. Something that could technically be required by this ruling. This however also depends on lots of other factors and many states require licensing and other things prior to being able to pay the state or local taxing authority the sales taxes owed. Which also can be an impossible task for an out of state retailer when a state requires a physical local address to comply and/or other licensing.

It also ignores the fact even large retailers have already not been accurately collecting sales taxes in many states where they have brick and mortar retail stores due to the complications in tax collection law. To be clear it is easier for a brick and mortar business to collect sales tax because they don't have to do it based on the destination address of a customer. They do it based on the stores own physical address so they at most have 2-3 taxing authorities to deal with and whatever other tax laws exist that apply to a given store. This failure to properly account and distribute is happening even within states with simpler sales tax collection rules-like New Jersey. For instance I saw Staples which is an international office supply store with operations in most if not all states fail for years to correctly collect and account for sales taxes on computer repair services after the law was changed in New Jersey 10+ years ago. Some repair services did correctly get taxed while others did not. Whether or not it was properly collected was dependent on the SKU an employee used to charge a customer for a given repair. I would presume newer SKUs were being correctly accounted for tax wise while older active ones were not.

Fortunately there are still options for those who think these taxes are unfair. New Hampshire, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon do not impose any general purpose sales taxes and there are even multiple popular migration movements to states like New Hampshire over these and other related freedom issues. For instance the Free State Project advocates for a society in which governments have no right to utilize violence against peaceful people even for the purpose of tax collection. It's like the expression "the end doesn't justify the means". The objectives may be worthwhile, but the immoral actions to get there can never be justified.

One of the justifications given for this ruling was that the loss of revenue from online retailers is unfair to the states with higher sales taxes. This logic completely ignored the fact states have the power to lower or eliminate sales taxes to attract business and tax revenue. Four states have no sales taxes at all, a fifth has no statewide sales tax, and a sixth has only a very low state sales tax. Keep in mind that while there are no or low sales taxes in these states this does not mean the states collect no taxes. As more businesses operate here as a result of lower operation and tax compliance costs more taxes are received from other revenue sources such as property taxes. Some states like New Hampshire don't have an income tax either and the overall tax burden is comparatively low due to smarter tax policies.

For more information on this ruling see Supreme Court Rules States Can Demand Outside Online Retailers Collect Sales Taxes

Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 00:44

We are pleased to announce our attendance for another year at the SouthEast [GNU/]LinuxFest. The event will be held June 8-10 at the Sheraton Charlotte Airport in North Carolina. If you are going to be in the south this June check out the event for a bunch of great talks and an expo.

SouthEast in the GNU/SOUTH is an annual GNU/Linux/open source/free software conference. It is a Friday through Sunday weekend event. The event is dedicated to education, discussion, and networking.

Register today!

Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 00:13

The ever so wise politicians in Europe have decided that they want to colonize the rest of the world [again] and hold even the smallest of businesses to absurd regulatory hurdles that can't possibly be complied with. At least not alongside every other burdensome law that every other country wants to enforce on the world. It's not the objective of the law, but implementation that is the problem.

While there may be value in The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 as it applies to large businesses that we know are abusing people such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and others it disadvantages small businesses who can't possibly comply with burdensome components that to properly deal with necessitates the hiring of lawyers and representatives or otherwise deprives resources from the business by distracting small business owners from actually conducting business. A group of people who are already strapped for time. Small businesses can't afford to hire a lawyer every time a new law is passed on the other side of the world.

While we are huge supporters of privacy The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is vague and attempts to claim jurisdiction over entities outside of Europe. It is not possible for even larger businesses to comply with the excessive amount of regulatory burden coming out of Europe.

We are not banning Europeans from purchasing products. It is merely a clarification that we do not do business in Europe and we will make sure to avoid advertising to Europeans as that might be used to put us out of business. The reality is most large companies aren't compliant with the gigantic amount of legislation that exists- but small ones certainly aren't- and shouldn't be forced to spend limited resources on removing references to countries and the European Union for fear of being put out of business. In our case all this does is reduce the relevancy and availability of support and documentation [even general information if it might be construed as targeting Europe] and prevent small businesses from acquiring the services of other businesses who do operate in Europe for fear of becoming liable to EU law. We will certainly be restructuring and discontinuing use of certain companies and products (like domain registration services, hosting, etc) from European companies or even just companies that merely do business with Europe. Because at the end of the day that can create nexus- liability that a small business can't afford.

Friday, May 11, 2018 - 16:03

The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) charity with a worldwide mission to protect computer user freedom, seeks a contract JavaScript Developer to work on GNU LibreJS, a free browser add-on that addresses the problem of nonfree JavaScript described in Richard Stallman's article The JavaScript Trap. This is a temporary, paid contract opportunity, with specific deliverables, hours, term, and payment to be determined with the selected candidate. We anticipate the contract being approximately 80 hours of full-time work, with the possibility of extension depending on results and project status.

For more information check out the FSF's Job Board

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 23:29

This summer join us in the woods for a party! We'll be hanging out with a group of freedom-loving libertarians talking tech, GNU/Linux, decentralization, free software, crypto, 3d printing, and more.

What many people aren't aware of is that there is a political migration going on of people from around the world who desire freedom (and aren't getting it). The Free State Project is an on-going effort that is attempting to bring real freedom to at least one place on this earth by organizing people from around the world in one place. Spread out there is no hope of freedom-minded people having a sizable political base that can impact politics. However working together in one region that's changing. And New Hampshire is that place!

The other thing that many people aren't aware of is that principled libertarians (real libertarians)-unlike the "libertarians" you might know at the national level and have been contradicting libertarian core values- are overwhelmingly in support of software freedom.

While nationally the word libertarian has been misappropriated and the national libertarian party doesn't represent actual libertarians the New Hampshire libertarian party actually does and probably isn't what you'd expect. For instance did you know that the chair of New Hampshire's Libertarian Party uses primarily free software? Did you know that one chapter's got both a president and vice president that run primarily free software? Or that free software advocates are over-represented amongst libertarians in New Hampshire?

Free software puts users wanting freedom in control of there own devices so it should be no surprise then that the Free State Project has attracted a lot of hard core free software supporters.. at least of those that want freedom elsewhere too. It's why New Hampshire has become a tech mecca when it comes to startups. From GNU/Linux to crypto and to security to decentralized marketplaces like OpenBazaar- and more.

Forkfest is a name you might expect from a group of people who support free software. It's a fork of another camping festival called Porcfest put on by the Free State Project that isn't quite as free as it once was-even if the people in attendance aren't any less liberty-minded. Like all projects there will be schisms and fights over approaches and so the adults have decided to start a competing camping event to run back to back with Porcfest. Where Porcfest tries to be more family friendly the adult-minded aspects (and there are liberty-loving families too!) of Porcfest have begun migrating to the new freer event called Forkfest. Unlike Porcfest Forkfest isn't centrally managed and each person or family will be brining to the event what they want. Be it family-friendly activities, adult-themed parties, or free software.

So join us this summer at Forkfest- and yes- we'll still be continuing the party on into Porcfest- being held at the same campground- see for more information.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 16:40

In the United States there exists the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA). A federal law that creates a conditional safe harbor for online service providers (OSP) (a group which includes internet service providers (ISP)) and other Internet intermediaries by shielding them for their own acts of direct copyright infringement (when they make unauthorized copies) as well as shielding them from potential secondary liability for the infringing acts of others.

Under Canadian law there is no safe harbour protection for even community based platforms from abuse by web site visitors. A safe harbor is a provision of a statute or a regulation that specifies that certain conduct will be deemed not to violate a given rule and Canada just doesn't have such a safe harbour for sites and services where by which some users may sometimes violate Copyright. Without such a law the site operators become liable for the acts of Copyright infringement committed by its users.

When proponents of Copyright began advocating for the introduction of Copyright law the argument for it was as a temporary suspension of the freedom and right of communication that everyone naturally has. This temporary limitation was a 7-year limit and was sold to the public as being for the purpose of promoting the arts and sciences for the public benefit. Upon lapse of the 7-years your right to communications was restored. Since the 1700s Copyright has been extended again and again as the result of Disney. Each time Copyrights on Micky Mouse were to expire Disney lobbied for and got an extension to the length of time works were protected by Copyright. Today works covered by Copyright are unlikely to ever fall into the public domain and can exceed 100 years.

A recent Canadian case involving a free software repository for TV addons has brought new light to the damage that Copyright proponents routinely do to the publics rights and freedoms.

TV ADDONS consists of a site hosting thousands of free software projects. It is being sued by Canada’s biggest telecom providers: Bell, Videotron, Rogers and TVA. In civil court, it is not uncommon for the party with the greatest resources to prevail, since civil court does not offer the same legal protections as are afforded under the criminal justice system.

The way Copyright law works every comment that is posted online is by default under Copyright from the moment it is created. By loading a web site with comments you are technically infringing someones Copyright unless you otherwise have prior authorization.

In the case of TV ADDONs the hosted plug-ins don't actually infringe Copyright. TV ADDONs is authorized to host these ADDONS by the Copyright holders. The problem is that many of these ADDONs provide access to the internet which contains infringing materials. The attack on TV ADDONs and/or the ADDONS themselves is like attacking Mozilla for producing the Firefox web browser because Firefox contains links to Google and from Google you can locate infringing content.

You might be wondering how a web site like TV ADDONs or a plug-in developer is even supposed to know whether a particular link that an ADDON is scraping is authorized by the Copyright holder or not? There is no central database of sites authorized to stream specific protected content after all and while sites like YouTube routinely distribute unauthorized material the vast majority of it is published by small-time creators who have legitimate free speech rights to communicate there content with the public. On top of this less than 1% of the ADDONs being distributed by TV ADDONs are even accused of scraping links to content that are infringing and just because some of the links may be infringing doesn't mean that all the links are. Just as some links that you can access via Google using Firefox are infringing that doesn't mean that all links are.

Canada should aspire to be a country that fosters innovation. Not one that allows big corporations to take the little guy out. Unfortunately Canada's politicians have been intimidating and hindering freedom in Canada for a very long time. Today all of the countries major ISPs have censorship filters and politicians have gone from demanding censorship of arguably disturbing content to political content to gambling sites to piracy.

If this wasn't bad enough Google, YouTube, Apple, Microsoft and others have been bowing to the pressure of politicians and entertainment industry lobbyists to voluntarily censor content at the destruction of everyone else's right to communicate. The filters don't work and routinely prevent the public at large from posting communications and videos. These expensive filters will pick up everything from white noise as being copyright to indecipherable background music that someone might be playing in the background such as when a reporter is interviewing someone on the street.

If you are interested in helping support the cause of freedom in Canada, possibly all the way to the Supreme Court, consider making a donation to TV ADDONS's legal defense fund. Donations can be made via Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, and Bitcoin Cash as well as via more traditional payment networks such as major Credit Cards, PayPal or even Gift Cards.

TVADDONS legal defense fund has been depleted! Please help by making a donation at GoFundME

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 00:34

LibrePlanet is an annual conference hosted by the Free Software Foundation for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and address challenges facing the free software movement. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature programming for a wide range of ages and experience levels.

We hope to see you at LibrePlanet 2018, March 24-25th in Cambridge, MA.

Register now to join us at MIT Cambridge, Massachusetts for LibrePlanet 2018 March 24-25th!