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GNU Linux-libre 5.6-gnu Released After Deblobbing AMD Trusted Execution, Ath11k WiFi

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  • GNU Linux-libre 5.6-gnu Released After Deblobbing AMD Trusted Execution, Ath11k WiFi

    Phoronix: GNU Linux-libre 5.6-gnu Released After Deblobbing AMD Trusted Execution, Ath11k WiFi

    Following last night's release of Linux 5.6, the GNU FSFLA folks have put out the Linux-libre 5.6-gnu kernel as their fully-free-software kernel that disallows loading binary kernel modules, disables functionality requiring closed-source firmware/microcode, and other aspects to ensure only free software code is running on the system...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...-libre-5.6-gnu

  • #2
    In before "only 1 person uses this".

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    • #3
      So, this might sound silly but do we have any benchmarks on the performance of Linux-libre? Does Michael have any gear besides the POWER workstation that can boot on it, and how it performs compared to mainline?

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      • #4
        What, even the WiFi is blobbed ?
        No wonder we have such crappy WiFi performance since nobody can look at it and improve it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tildearrow View Post
          In before "only 1 person uses this".
          Only 2 people use this.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Britoid View Post

            Only 2 people use this.
            only 2+n people use this.

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            • #7
              I do understand and support the idea of libre distributions, but seriously, if the chip won't work at all... without blobs (sadly) you won't have energy management and the likes, and you might end up with your big fat Radeon card just like you'd use some ancient ISA bus VGA adapter in 80x25 if you're unlucky. That's pretty useless. Or have no network functionality, and essentially a brick.

              I hate blobs, but this is crippling also users. So you probably can only use it on old computers from 10+ years ago or maybe on one of the big POWER stations by Raptor Engineering.
              Stop TCPA, stupid software patents and corrupt politicians!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Danny3 View Post
                What, even the WiFi is blobbed ?
                Yes, and this has always been the case for PC hardware. For instance hard-drives, CD/DVD drives, network cards, WiFi cards, graphics cards USB adapters, USB devices etc all have embedded firmware(blob) running on embedded micro-controllers and perhaps even FPGAs. Usually all this code is embedded on the device, in a PROM or FLASH.

                This discussed here for the WiFI blobs is essentially no difference, other than that the device driver downloads the binary(blob) to the device, as opposed to the device already have the blob available in PROM or FLASH. The reason is both cost saving and ease of distributing, your driver and firmware will always be in sync this way.

                Originally posted by Danny3 View Post
                No wonder we have such crappy WiFi performance since nobody can look at it and improve it.
                No, this is a misunderstanding. It's not part of the driver as such, but part of the hardware. A windows driver would download the exact same binary blob to the device, so the blob would not be part of any performance differences.

                The code in the blob runs on the device, not on the main processor where the Linux kernel runs, hence making it unlikely the usual kernel developers would make changes to it. Besides it's highly unlikely the tool-chain used to develop the blob is installed on a regular Linux install, the tools may not even exist in a Linux compatible version. Not to mention, a freely available one.

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                • #9
                  So wait... what does this actually run on? Are they targeting less hardware support than BSD?

                  i hear you can still find development boards for 8080 grade hardware and it comes with full developer manuals... no blobs needed... maybe thats what they should target?

                  I read somewhere that while Raptor Engineering is pushing to open everything up, even there they still need quite a number of blobs to keep the hardware running.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Adarion View Post
                    I hate blobs, but this is crippling also users. So you probably can only use it on old computers from 10+ years ago or maybe on one of the big POWER stations by Raptor Engineering.
                    Works on my 1-year-old Asus laptop. You'd be surprised at the amount of hardware that will run without all the blobs. No bluetooth is usually the biggest drawback. On some laptops you'd have to use a wifi dongle, if they had a wifi chip that wouldn't work without blobs. But the modern kernel supports a ton of wifi chips without needing extra proprietary firmware.

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