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GNU Linux-libre 5.9-gnu Released After The Usual Deblobbing

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  • #11
    Originally posted by tajjada View Post
    I mean, I understand the opposition against any kind of proprietary blobs at all, I just don't understand how making them read-only suddenly makes them OK for some reason.
    If proprietary code comes from a read-only source then FOSS can code around its quirks and make it work whereas if it's read-write (or loads an external package to function) then the manufacturer/maker/coder/whatever can update their blob and negate all the FOSS work done.

    If software can't be updated then it is no different than fixed function hardware because everything can be documented and worked around if necessary. If software can be updated then it becomes a mysterious black box because all known functions, quirks, etc can be changed at a moments notice.

    As an absurd example to stretch the point: If someone made a computer with some static never-changing version of MS Windows on a ROM, would Stallman be OK with that?
    Maybe. Since the software is immutable and cannot be changed it would still fall under the "everything can be documented and worked around if necessary" banner. I figure a 1G ROM isn't much different than a 1k ROM from a technical perspective. Not useful and I don't know why you'd want a fixed function OS on a ROM that could never be updated, but technically, yeah, not much difference outside of size and number of functions.


    • #12
      Originally posted by bug77 View Post
      Anyone knows which distros are using this?
      I don't know if any distro ships with it but you should be able to upgrade to it. Distros that ship with the Linux Libre kernel include Trisquel; Hyperbola; Parabola; among others.


      • #13
        Originally posted by yoshi314 View Post

        more importantly, what kind of hardware works with this?
        CPU wise pretty much any will work. GPU wise only Intel and Nvidia cards that are GTX 7xx or older.


        • #14
          I use Libreboot and that's where it's useful. I used to run Parabola but then I had to actually get a job and work so I couldn't handle the forever changing system (it wasn't unstable though) and switched to Debian stable. Debian also has deblobbed kernel, but it's not branded as Linux-libre.

          On my desktop rig I also run Debian with deblobbed kernel and everything works. There is so little amount of hardware that actually doesn't work with it. It's perfect as a daily driver, you don't miss anything.


          • #15
            Originally posted by Calinou View Post

            Yes, but only when it's on a ROM (which makes it non-upgradeable). He only has issues with it if it's upgradeable.
            I might be wrong, but I think you misrepresent his possition:
            There is a gray area between hardware and software that contains firmware that can be upgraded or replaced, but is not meant ever to be upgraded or replaced once the product is sold. In conceptual terms, the gray area is rather narrow. In practice, it is important because many products fall in it. We can treat that firmware as hardware with a small stretch.
            "not meant to upgrade" that can include a flashable rom, or more exactly EPROM or EEPROM.

            well let's put it that way he is probably 1000x more ok with a EEPROM when the vendor don't enforces or makes it hard to not upgrade it, then with a firmware that get's dynamically upgraded with each OS update and then dynamically loaded.

            That is in a gray area:
            Since that time, the situation has changed. Today the BIOS is no longer burned in ROM; it is stored in nonvolatile writable memory that users can rewrite. Today the BIOS sits square on the edge of the line. It comes prewritten in our computers, and normally we never install another. So far, that is just barely enough to excuse treating it as hardware. But once in a while the manufacturer suggests installing another BIOS, which is available only as an executable. This, clearly, is installing a non-free program--it is just as bad as installing Microsoft Windows, or Adobe Photoshop, or Sun's Java Platform. As the unethical practice of installing another BIOS executable becomes common, the version delivered inside the computer starts to raise an ethical problem issue as well.
            So he says mostly the "installing of a different version... a unethical practice". So with AMD as example you "install" or load each boot a new firmware, so each boot you do something "unethical".

            Because the ability to install blobs alone can't be the problem otherwise each computer would be a problem because you can install windows on it, sure you could argue that you "can" install also free software, but with a EEPROM you don't have to upgrade, when a vendor would build in a clock that needs a upgrade at some point I would see that differently.

            So yes technically he dislikes all of that, but I dislike theft and murder, yet I don't dislike both at the same level if that makes sense. So if we get to a point where only EEPROMS would be on graphic cards and it don't need firmwares loaded from the kernel I don't think he would advocate to linux-libre kernels to detect that and make the kernel not boot, because the linux-libre boots perfectly fine without a non-free bios, before and after update.


            • #16
              Originally posted by bug77 View Post
              Anyone knows which distros are using this?
              So far I know, Debian is delivered with this kernel and in case you can enable the firmware you need for you hardware. All the distros that are certified by the FSF.

              What I don't get is all this rant against something that should be done in the first place. If I have a kernel that is an agglomerate of binary blobs, where is the safety? Where is the privacy? Where is your control over your hardware? The Linux kernel seems like those old giant whales covered by thousand of parasites...