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Coreboot Ported To The Librem 13 Laptop, Without Purism

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  • Coreboot Ported To The Librem 13 Laptop, Without Purism

    Phoronix: Coreboot Ported To The Librem 13 Laptop, Without Purism

    The controversial, crowd-funded Librem laptop that aimed to be fully open down to the firmware but ended up shipping with an AMI UEFI firmware for the initial release has now been ported to Coreboot for the Librem 13 model. The Coreboot support wasn't done by Purism, the company behind the Librem, but rather a Coreboot developer at Google...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...-The-Librem-13

  • #2
    The Librem was never going to be fully open source, and Purism knew this from the get-go. You can't take an off-the-shelf Intel processor and expect to run it blob free. The whole "open source laptop" thing was just marketing speak to get people to buy an overpriced, underpowered plain vanilla laptop for a quick profit.

    Even Bunnie's Novena laptop isn't 100% open hardware, though it's the closest you're going to get without fabbing your own chips based off your own designs. There's just too much incentive for chip makers to keep their designs under NDAs.

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    • #3
      Aaaaaawkward!
      But this project was strange from the beginning. Weren't they first announcing "free" with some nvidia card? Whoa! That was contradictory. Then they moved back, but still spoke of Coreboot with intel chips, which isn't that easy to do either. I guess someone just wanted a gaming laptop (even for Windows maybe) and had the community to finance it; and lured them with a few keywords - but not having a clue about reality. Freedom firmware an intel chip... lol. That might be possible with some 486, maybe. And all the other chips, embedded controllers, optical drives, network interfaces and whatnot.
      And now a sole google dev ports Coreboot over. Embarrassing, really.

      Happy to not have backed this dubious project. Things like that damage the reputation of community backed / crowd-funded projects.
      It is one thing if you run into unforeseen problems of technical kind - but this was questionable from the very beginning.

      Stop TCPA, stupid software patents and corrupt politicians!

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      • #4
        Basically Nouveau for older cards does not require a binary firmware for OpenGL (but i think still for vdpau). AMD always needed a binary firmware, Intel needs it since Skylake.

        Google has much experience with Coreboot, i think first they added SeaBIOS as legacy fallback, no idea if this is still the case or if you have to flash a special firmware to a Chromebook to boot something else than ChromeOS. But Coreboot still requires binary parts, if you really want something without you can not build a new system - it would be very old. Funnyly you could still buy modified (different WLAN chip) laptops from the Core 2 area but does somebody really want to buy those fully overpiced (T400/X200) with preinstalled Libreboot?

        Coreboot is of course more open than a normal UEFI firmware, but i doubt it is more secure. You can play with differnent payloads but maybe attach the firmware chip to a long cable to be able to replace it faster in case you beak it - this trick was often shown at Coreboot booths - most likely because it is unbreakable

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kano View Post
          Coreboot is of course more open than a normal UEFI firmware, but i doubt it is more secure.
          coreboot doesn't come with a network stack (IPv4 and IPv6), at least one filesystem (FAT, but often also shipping NTFS), a complex, extensible mechanism to extend or replace pretty much every aspect of the firmware at runtime (for example, using modules loaded over the network).

          Originally posted by Kano View Post
          You can play with differnent payloads but maybe attach the firmware chip to a long cable to be able to replace it faster in case you beak it - this trick was often shown at Coreboot booths - most likely because it is unbreakable
          We attach cables/probes/clips to the flash chip because during development, stuff breaks. Since coreboot itself doesn't provide release binaries, we recommend interested hackers to look for a recovery path before bricking their box.

          A Chromebook (to give one example of coreboot-shipping end-user hardware) doesn't come with "long cables", and its firmware is pretty much unbreakable.

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          • #6
            The network stack is usually switchable with a "normal" UEFI/BIOS implementation. How would you PXE boot without? UEFI needs FAT support, maybe some have got NTFS support for firmware updates, but that's usually not active inside a shell/direct boot entry. Apple systems have HFS(+) support.

            If you mod the coreboot firmware with custom payloads on a Chromebook you should be able to replace the chip if needed or use SPI flash. If you don't mod it what's better then?

            Btw. if you want a BIOS PXE boot you would need Coreboot, SeaBIOS and iPXE.

            Did you ever use PXE?

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            • #7
              thats why I not buy newer Intel systems, maybe I make a exception for some cheap second pc stuff or I get a very old netbook, but I will not commit to intel with my main working laptop/machine.

              yes I know AMD has a blob for graphics but I think its not needed to do basic stuff or it should be easy to reverse-engineer. of course then without vdpau capability. But newer intel machines will not even boot without any blobs, and it should be nearly impossible to reverse-engineer this "security" bullshit blobs (cant even here the term security anymore, its just a scamword to trick everybody in a policestate).

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