The FSF is fond of banging on about how the GPL is more “free” than other open source licences, even though it is actually a more restrictive licence than many others (for example, the Apache Licence).
So I find it ironic that the much anticipated Raspberry Pi is about as un-free as it is possible to be. Yes, it runs Linux. Can you run anything else? No, because the chipset is not documented, it is impossible to write drivers for any other OS. Its hard to imagine what would have happened if the dominant open OS was BSD or Apache licensed, but it is interesting to speculate: would this have happened in that world? Possibly not – one of the reasons the ASF adopted a more free licence was precisely because it is business-friendly. Would chipmakers obsessively protect their chip specs in that world? Who knows, but I like to think not.
In any case, if I were building a device like the Pi, I would not be using undocumented chips.