GNU Linux-libre 5.2-gnu Blesses Sound Open Firmware, Cleans Other Drivers

Written by Michael Larabel in GNU on 8 July 2019 at 11:00 AM EDT. 12 Comments
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Following last night's Linux 5.2 kernel release, the GNU folks maintaining their GNU Linux-libre off-shoot that de-blobs the kernel of being able to load binary-only firmware/microcode files or the ability to load binary-only kernel modules is out with their re-based kernel.

GNU Linux-libre 5.2-gnu was another busy release for them with having to keep up in cleaning the new/extended drivers that get added and working around or disabling any binary blobs they may optionally support or require. In the case of Linux 5.2, they've had to do some cleaning around Realtek's new RTW88 WiFi driver that is replacing the RTLWIFI driver. They've also had to make changes to a number of other Realtek and Mediatek drivers among others along with adjustments for AMDGPU and Nouveau GPU binary firmware along with the Goya accelerator.

Up to now they've also been blocking the Sound Open Firmware (SoF) support only now to realize that in fact Intel's open-source DSP/sound platform does meet their requirements. Sound Open Firmware was announced last year for providing more open-source firmware and is being used by all new/future Google Chromebooks. With Linux 5.2 there was a big SoF addition and now that's cleared for working in the GNU Linux-libre 5.2 kernel.

From the Linux-libre 5.2 release announcement, "The most relevant change in this release is Sound Open Firmware support: I had not realized the SOF files were Free Software in recent earlier releases, so the requests for these files were disabled in them. Only while cleaning up the new kernel module specifically devoted to SOF-supporting devices did I realize my mistake. I look forward to the day when assuming a firmware name is a blob is no longer a safe bet."

Linux 5.2 does bring many new/improved features most of which should work in the Linux-libre spin.
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