GNU Linux-libre 5.3 Continues Deblobbing & Dealing With Firmware Trickery
Written by Michael Larabel in GNU on 16 September 2019 at 09:07 AM EDT. 22 Comments
GNU --
Hot off last night's Linux 5.3 release, the GNU folks have this morning released GNU Linux-libre 5.3-gnu as their downstream flavor of the kernel that strips out support for loading proprietary kernel modules and the ability to load binary-only microcode/firmware files, among other steps for aiming at a pure free software kernel.

With the GNU Linux-libre 5.3-gnu kernel, they've continued re-basing their existing de-blobbing patches as well as having to make some new adjustments and disabling the blob loading for QCOM, DRM driver HDCP support, Allegro-DVT, and Meson VDEC.

GNU FSF LA's Alexandre Oliva also expressed some criticism towards the Meson video decode work. Oliva noted, "the firmware sources were supposed to be available from LibreELEC, and though the link to the alleged sources there is broken, I managed to find the "source" repo containing them, only to find out the "source" was just a binary blob encoded in C as an array of char, just like Linux used to do back when I got involved with Linux-libre. Oh well... Request disabled..."

More details on this sanitized version of the Linux kernel via GNU.org.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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