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GNU Linux-libre 4.7-gnu Deblobs More Drivers

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  • GNU Linux-libre 4.7-gnu Deblobs More Drivers

    Phoronix: GNU Linux-libre 4.7-gnu Deblobs More Drivers

    With the fresh sources from last night's Linux 4.7 kernel release, the GNU Linux-libre folks have released their 4.7-gnu kernel...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...inux-Libre-4.7

  • #2
    I do like the philosophical battle by these guys.
    It's just a pity that in the end they'll fail: the end result is a castrated kernel with an ever shrinking hardware base...

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    • #3
      The only way this could work ultimately is if some company builds a new semiconductor foundry that doesn't infringe any patents at all. Those products then could be fully opensource and the competition they induce could drive others to do the same. But somebody is going to have to front billions of dollars and years to make it happen.

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      • #4
        As this is not happening in the near future, that project will definitely fail.

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        • #5
          Without there being open alternatives to those blobs, they're literally just removing drivers from the kernel, their only hope of having a usable system would be a PPC system with an old nVidia graphics card that used open firmware

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          • #6
            Originally posted by FireBurn View Post
            Without there being open alternatives to those blobs, they're literally just removing drivers from the kernel, their only hope of having a usable system would be a PPC system with an old nVidia graphics card that used open firmware
            PPC CPU doesnt have "microcode" updates? Or it is better to run a cpu with know patched errata, not patched?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Uqbar View Post
              I do like the philosophical battle by these guys.
              It's just a pity that in the end they'll fail: the end result is a castrated kernel with an ever shrinking hardware base...
              They are the 2.0 version of Sisyphus:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus

              I understand the battle, but wow... is it really useful to spend time and ressources for that?..

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              • #8
                Originally posted by duby229 View Post
                The only way this could work ultimately is if some company builds a new semiconductor foundry that doesn't infringe any patents at all. Those products then could be fully opensource and the competition they induce could drive others to do the same. But somebody is going to have to front billions of dollars and years to make it happen.
                It's called Open Hardware. RISC-V is seeing its first runs on silicon. http://hackerboards.com/first-socs-b...c-v-run-linux/

                RISC-V is backed by Google, Oracle and HP, among others. http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1328561

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
                  It's called Open Hardware. RISC-V is seeing its first runs on silicon. http://hackerboards.com/first-socs-b...c-v-run-linux/

                  RISC-V is backed by Google, Oracle and HP, among others. http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1328561
                  That's good for them of course. But I still see quite a lot of patent encumbrance there. The sources for it seem to be reasonably open. That's good so it's possible to adapt it for any type of controller. But I guarantee you that the fabrication process includes a whole ton of encumbered processes. Like I already said in a different thread, hardware has physical properties.

                  EDIT: Software can be written in source code and compiled into binaries, but hardware has to be written in source form and fabricated into hardware. That's the encumbrance.

                  EDIT: One analogy might be, it's like relying on a proprietary API and compiler for your free software. Is it really libre if it's not completely free? The answer is simply no.
                  Last edited by duby229; 25 July 2016, 11:38 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by duby229 View Post
                    EDIT: Software can be written in source code and compiled into binaries, but hardware has to be written in source form and fabricated into hardware. That's the encumbrance.

                    EDIT: One analogy might be, it's like relying on a proprietary compiler for your free software.
                    No it is not, as the fab is just printing the design verbatim, and the patents are linked only to the "transferring the design verbatim to the hardware". You can go to any fab and it will work the same.

                    Compilers do quite a long list of optimizations and tweaks and things requiring heuristics to your code just to compile it at all, if you change compiler things can (and do) change.

                    If you like to attach yourself to stupid shit, we can also say that the open compilers compiling opensource software must off-load the work to CPU firmware which is closed in any CPU you would like to use for compilation, so there is lots of encumberance there too, and it's not truly open.

                    And it gets worse, since such firmwares are dealing again with optimizations and heuristics to turn the ISA instructions into something that the actual hardware can execute, they can and do fuck with your code, while a fab printing things does not.

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