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Intel's Skylake Audio Firmware Lands

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  • Intel's Skylake Audio Firmware Lands

    Phoronix: Intel's Skylake Audio Firmware Lands

    Intel's Skylake audio binary-only firmware landed today within the linux-firmware Git tree...

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

  • #2
    So... what good reason is there for binary-only audio firmware? Only thing I could possibly think of is Intel just wanting to hide something (which wouldn't be surprising).

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    • #3
      Is it really legal to forbid reverse-engineering ? If I recall correctly, it might be in the US but not in the EU, can someone confirm ?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by pamaury View Post
        Is it really legal to forbid reverse-engineering ? If I recall correctly, it might be in the US but not in the EU, can someone confirm ?

        I am not a lawyer, but I think you are allowed to reverse-engineer for interoperability purposes in the EU.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Espionage724 View Post
          So... what good reason is there for binary-only audio firmware? Only thing I could possibly think of is Intel just wanting to hide something (which wouldn't be surprising).
          so they can sneak in some spyware

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Espionage724 View Post
            So... what good reason is there for binary-only audio firmware? Only thing I could possibly think of is Intel just wanting to hide something (which wouldn't be surprising).
            Lots of good potential reasons
            - micro-controller handles protected content
            - micro-controller licensed from a 3rd party
            - micro-controller has privileged interface to hw

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            • #7
              Originally posted by agd5f View Post

              Lots of good potential reasons
              - micro-controller handles protected content
              - micro-controller licensed from a 3rd party
              - micro-controller has privileged interface to hw
              I'm no hardware expert but I don't understand how these are good reasons.

              Originally posted by agd5f View Post
              - micro-controller handles protected content
              What do you mean by protected? DRM Protection? If so it would boil down to whether DRM is a good thing or not.
              Originally posted by agd5f View Post
              - micro-controller licensed from a 3rd party
              This is good in the sense that they are following the law but it's just pushing the question to the 3rd party.
              Originally posted by agd5f View Post
              - micro-controller has privileged interface to hw
              This sounds like security through obscurity. Isn't this bad?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Espionage724 View Post
                So... what good reason is there for binary-only audio firmware? Only thing I could possibly think of is Intel just wanting to hide something (which wouldn't be surprising).
                There's an NSA backdoor to open the mic and record what you're saying. There isn't any privilaged code to execure at that level so DRM or secure boot aren't possible explanations.

                Edit: To elaborate: It's a hook for the microcontroller to take over if instructed (through a backdoor). Reviewing the firmware will only show it's allowing the MC to take over but the back door will be up the chain where we can't dump the code (the controller and the CPU ROM).
                Last edited by c117152; 04 November 2015, 07:55 PM. Reason: elaborate

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by c117152 View Post

                  There's an NSA backdoor to open the mic and record what you're saying. There isn't any privilaged code to execure at that level so DRM or secure boot aren't possible explanations.

                  Edit: To elaborate: It's a hook for the microcontroller to take over if instructed (through a backdoor). Reviewing the firmware will only show it's allowing the MC to take over but the back door will be up the chain where we can't dump the code (the controller and the CPU ROM).
                  this.

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                  • #10
                    This is just a DSP, no need for all this bs. Intel shouldn't have changed provider. The users won't notice any difference. Unfortunately all the providers for such functionality are known to sit on their stupid patents and push against free implementations for a living.

                    I hope this is never triggered by DRM (there isn't even a reason for such), otherwise, it's also spyware, and possibly the most serious one we've come across since Sony Music's rootkit from a decade ago.

                    Well, I guess there's just no reason to buy exclusively Intel for Linux anymore. They're just as good as AMD now.

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