GNU Linux-libre 5.8 Required A Lot Of Deblobbing
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 3 August 2020 at 09:51 AM EDT. 13 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
Linux 5.8 is one of the biggest releases in a while but that newly-stable kernel also means a lot of the new drivers need to be stripped out or otherwise modified over being reliant on binary-only firmware/microcode or contingent upon other dependencies deemed not free to the Free Software Foundation standards.

GNU Linux-libre 5.8-gnu was released today by Alexandre Oliva of the FSF Latin America team. He commented of the Linux 5.8 changes, "This was quite a big release. New drivers that required cleaning up were for Atom ISP Video, MediaTek 7663 USB and 7915 PCIe and Realtek 8723DE WiFi, Renesas PCI xHCI, HabanaLabs Gaudi coprocessor, Enhanced Asynchronous Sample Rate Converter, Maxim Integrated MAX98390 Speaker Aimplifier, Microsemi ZL38060 Connected Home Audio Processor, and I2C EEPROM Slave. Drivers for Adreno GPU, HabanaLabs Goya coprocessor, x86 Touchscreen, vt6656 and btbcm, and various documentation files needed adjustments to their cleaning-up details."

He also noted that for the scripts they use in purifying the kernel, a transition is underway for using Python and Perl rather than GNU awk or Sed. GNU Awk is much faster for the GNU Linux-libre purposes but consumes several GB of RAM where as Python/Perl can complete in "a few tens of MBs." GNU Sed meanwhile appears to be performing slower than in the past for their deblob checking.

The deblobbed GNU-blessed Linux 5.8 kernel is available from FSFLA.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 20,000 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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