Can we legislate our way to technological enlightenment?

28th November 2021

The Free Software movement (if you don't know what this is please read the definition of free software) has always put a large emphasis on people's individual choices. That we can make an impact by spurning non-free software.

The problem is that the percentage of computer users that even know what Free Software/Open Source even is is very low and not enough to create an incentive for software companies to distribute their software under Free/Open Source licences.

In this article I wish to explore what legislation could be brought in that may improve our relationship with technology and create a fertile ground for Free Software/Open Source to thrive.

Outlaw pre-loaded Operating Systems

For devices which are complex enough to require an operating system such as:

...these devices should be provided blank. The OS should be chosen, bought and installed desperately by the consumer.

This would have many positive effects:

Mandate Source Code to be published

I think mandating all software to be Free/Open Source would be a step too far as it would make it very difficult to make a profit from certain types of software (think specialised software that's sold in small quantities for high prices).

However I can't see any reason not to mandate that all software have the source code published. Software companies can continue to protect their work with Copyright law so there's not really any legitimate counter-argument.

Advantages of Source Code being published would be as follows:

Sort out the patent system

I am not the most qualified person to write about this but the patent system is a total tire-fire and needs sorting out. Here are some links for your further reading:


It's absolutely ridiculous to have a perishable item such as a battery be non-replaceable. It causes an entire device to need replacing just because of an old battery and it also probably results in more toxic chemicals going to landfill.

However making the battery replaceable is only worthwhile if new batteries can actually be obtained (freshly manufactured, not left rotting in a warehouse for three years).

Therefore in order to do replaceable batteries properly we would need a set of standardised battery sizes so that they can be made generically and fit a variety of devices.

In other words for example instead of buying a battery for a Samsung Galaxy S5, you would buy a generic battery which would be in use by many generations of phone and in continuous mass production.

I'd imagine we'd need maybe 10 different standardised sizes for lithium Ions covering everything from phones up-to laptops.

As a bonus I would expect each battery size to increase in capacity over time as energy density increases, so you could actually upgrade your old device to have a higher battery capacity than when it was new :).


The charging situation is so hilariously stupid that it makes me exasperated just writing about it.

We still have devices using different-shaped connectors to prevent the wrong charger being plugged in ... in 2021.

Obviously the charger and the device should speak to each-other, exchange a list of voltages and currents they support, and choose the most appropriate level (or not charge if they have no compatible charge levels). This way we can have everything use the same charging connector.


We do already have a technology that allows all this and it's called "USB Power Delivery". However it's only supported by a random assortment of stuff such as Android phones and Apple's 2020 line of laptops.

My Windows laptops all still have proprietary connectors and Apple's new 2021 line of laptops have gone back to using a proprietary connector so we're actually going backwards in this area.