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

Written by Michael Larabel in GNU on 12 October 2020 at 06:45 AM EDT. 15 Comments
Within hours of Linus Torvalds releasing the Linux 5.9 kernel, the GNU folks maintaining the GNU Linux-libre downstream released their version of the kernel that prevents the loading of binary-only modules as well as the loading of binary-only firmware/microcode blobs.

GNU Linux-libre continues to be the choice of GNU / Free Software Foundation approved distributions due to being more pure than the upstream kernel in allowing proprietary modules to be loaded and microcode/firmware files that may not be open-source, among other aspects.

With Linux 5.9 the libre changes are more of the usual deblobbing. Alexandre Oliva explained of their 5.9 release, "The scripts used for the release candidates needed changing for final: a new blob name was added to x86 touchscreen, and a new bitmap console font added as an array of numbers elsewhere was flagged as suspicious, but it was a false positive. Aside from that, there haven't been a lot of surprises in this release. A new wifi driver for rtw8821c, and a new SoC support driver for MediaTek mt8183 needed some cleaning up to disable requests for blobs. Other pieces of code and documentation mentioning blobs moved about in the tree and required adjustments to the cleaning up logic. Preexisting drivers for amdgpu, mt7615, and i915 (CSR), Mellanox mlxsw (Spectrum3), and r8169 (rtl8125b-2) needed changes to clean up blobs for newly-introduced hardware variants."

Download links and more details on GNU Linux-Libre 5.9 via the mailing list.
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