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System76 Comments On Their Open-Source Hardware Plans & US Manufacturing

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  • System76 Comments On Their Open-Source Hardware Plans & US Manufacturing

    Phoronix: System76 Comments On Their Open-Source Hardware Plans & US Manufacturing

    System76 is finally announcing the Thelio system on Thursday with plans to begin shipping it in December. Ahead of that announcement they've clarified a bit around their US manufacturing and open-source hardware plans...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...-Manufacturing

  • #2
    So it's not open, it's just another pc, like Dell, Apple and a self-made pc, all that enphasis for nothing
    I think they shoudn't say open hardware if is not completly open, i can't say i have a Ferrari just because my car is red

    I really hope the laptop they are talking about will be for real a complete open hardware, maybe using power, risc-v or arm, in case of arm not the one with blobs inside or required in firmware or driver

    I understand that is not easy to accomplish that kind of purpose, but call open something is not open, it's a bad move, if they wanna push intel/amd to be more open they should try maybe with purism, or just let x86 behind and looking for alternative.
    Apple will leave x86 and i think in the next 5 years x86 will lose a lot of power on market, because arm is getting powerfull enough, and if the big heads on Intel do not understand it, they will just make the 2nd big fail after say no to Apple for a mobile cpu.
    Things change now they are leader tomorrow i doubt it, to completly open the architecture could be a great move for them, because people and company who care about open hardware will not leave them, and manufacturer and developers will have a lot of info to make it better.
    2019 is close, and the close software and hardware are lost causes, because everything open will have more effort for everyone, and everyone will put in there their 2 cent because they can use it when the techology is mature, big companies put money on linux, not in windows, smartphone manufacturer, communities use android not windows mobile or iOs, and if you take a look at market android is the big player, not windows mobile.
    Once upon a time Nokia and symbian, Blackberry, and other BIG company, now they are dead under open source project
    Last edited by freespirit; 10-30-2018, 03:04 PM.

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    • #3
      When asked about the management engine, Intel said:

      "The Management Engine (ME) provides important functionality our users care about, including features such as secure boot, two-factor authentication, system recovery, and enterprise device management,"
      "While the Intel Management Engine is proprietary and Intel does not share the source code, it is very secure."
      When asked about the PSP, AMD said:

      "We've actually already completed multiple different audits from security companies that we've hired to come in and essentially try and find vulnerabilities in our PSP architecture as well the PSP firmware that goes with it. So that's something we actually completed earlier this year. So I think we are looking to have people look at our security implementation from a software perspective and determine if there are vulnerabilities and weaknesses. At this point, it isn't our plan to go and put that out to the community[1] but we are taking the right steps and measures to ensure that we are having people that are experts, that know what bad agents do, to really see if we have vulnerabilities"
      [1] In context, "put that out to the community" was a reference to the calls from users to open source the PSP and allow changes to it.

      Lots of open mindedness to owner control there.

      There's a reason we didn't go with the x86 architecture for truly open systems -- because the two x86 vendors are not capable of providing the required owner-controlled devices. Full stop. Same with most high performance ARM offerings. Every single CPU and GPU generation sold from those vendors has more and more signature-checking lockdown, more DRM, more and more complex firmware, and less owner control. The only place where there has been a glimmer of any hope for something else has been with AMD's open source GPU drivers, but even there it's being done at the same time as increasing firmware signature checks at the GPU hardware level.

      System76, if you'd like to offer truly open systems today, perhaps take a look at the Talos II line? Raptor does sell mainboards and CPUs to the public (including system OEMs) if you want to open the actual core of the system instead of just the fluff surrounding it.
      Last edited by madscientist159; 10-30-2018, 03:03 PM.

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      • #4
        Fully open source hardware is not that impossible, RISC-V is a fantastic place to start making an open, high performing CPU for instance. Creating an open source motherboard might be a bit more challenging, but all the data required for it is out there all it takes is the right team of engineers. Open source RAM and Storage is a different matter perhaps, but I feel like it's less important because I?ve never heard of RAM or Storage devices doing or even being capable of doing anything dubious. Supporting existing options would be enough for a start for that scene. The trickiest part would definitely be GPU. We all know how open source GPU efforts have gone so far.

        Ultimately, creating an open source gpu that can compete with AMD/Intel/Nvidia would require a company of comparable size. Like IBM with Power9. There might also be a chance for HP to try something I guess.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by freespirit View Post
          Apple will leave x86
          Not gonna happen.
          and i think in the next 5 years x86 will lose a lot of power on market, because arm is getting powerfull enough,
          Not gonna happen either, also where is ARM getting powerful? It's still struggling in anything beyond low-end laptops.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rabcor View Post
            Fully open source hardware is not that impossible, RISC-V is a fantastic place to start making an open, high performing CPU for instance. Creating an open source motherboard might be a bit more challenging,
            You have the difficulty level of the tasks reversed. CPU design is orders of magnitude more complex and expensive than board design.

            I feel like it's less important because I?ve never heard of RAM or Storage devices doing or even being capable of doing anything dubious. Supporting existing options would be enough for a start for that scene. The trickiest part would definitely be GPU. We all know how open source GPU efforts have gone so far.
            Would be already good enough for most people if the hardware did not have a "secure coprocessor".

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            • #7
              Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
              Not gonna happen. Not gonna happen either, also where is ARM getting powerful? It's still struggling in anything beyond low-end laptops.
              Apple's SOCs are immensely powerful considering that they run at TDPs around or below 5W. I am sure, you can find benchmark scores on par with mid-tier i-series Core CPUs. And that is accomplished at relatively low frequencies. I certainly cannot predict Apple's plans but from a pure feasibility perspective, they could 100% switch at least their entire laptop line to ARM within a few years.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by madscientist159 View Post
                Lots of open mindedness to owner control there.
                Intel's "trust me because I'm good" statement is hilarious. AMD's statement about third party review lacks proof.

                There's a reason we didn't go with the x86 architecture for truly open systems -- because the two x86 vendors are not capable of providing the required owner-controlled devices. Full stop. Same with most high performance ARM offerings. Every single CPU and GPU generation sold from those vendors has more and more signature-checking lockdown, more DRM, more and more complex firmware, and less owner control. The only place where there has been a glimmer of any hope for something else has been with AMD's open source GPU drivers, but even there it's being done at the same time as increasing firmware signature checks at the GPU hardware level.
                The main (and probably only) issue to "owner control" of these devices are the management engines and security coprocessors, followed by UEFI board firmware being a piece of garbage.

                Device firmwares and microcode, and signature checking of them is normal for closed hardware.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by GruenSein View Post
                  Apple's SOCs are immensely powerful considering that they run at TDPs around or below 5W. I am sure, you can find benchmark scores on par with mid-tier i-series Core CPUs. And that is accomplished at relatively low frequencies.
                  Heh, what I read was that its singlecore performance was somewhat close to the single-core performance of a Xeon 8176 https://www.anandtech.com/show/13392...icon-secrets/4
                  which is a Xeon with like 28 cores, 56 threads and can be mounted on boards with 4 CPUs (i.e. it is designed for parallel loads, not single-core).

                  And they claimed "desktop performance", no that's still low-end. A desktop CPU from Intel has much more IPC than a server CPU with 28 cores.

                  I certainly cannot predict Apple's plans but from a pure feasibility perspective, they could 100% switch at least their entire laptop line to ARM within a few years.
                  The "pure feasibility perspective" should also deal with the annoyance of transitioning all their current x86 ecosystem to ARM, which is not really a fun thing.

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                  • #10
                    If you want a FOSS PC just buy Talos.
                    ## VGA ##
                    AMD: X1950XTX, HD3870, HD5870
                    Intel: GMA45, HD3000 (Core i5 2500K)

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