Intel Has Also Relicensed Their FSP Binaries: A Big Win To Coreboot, LinuxBoot
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 24 August 2018 at 05:25 AM EDT. 20 Comments
INTEL --
There's some good news beyond Intel's CPU microcode re-licensing to clear up the confusion among users and developers this week: Intel is also re-licensing their FSP binaries to this same shorter and much more concise license.

The FSP "Firmware Support Package" binaries used by the likes of Coreboot, LinuxBoot, and Facebook's Open Compute Project is under this same license now as the CPU microcode files. The FSP bits have been closed-source for several generations but are used by Coreboot and friends for allowing their "BIOS" to be as open as possible otherwise. The Intel Firmware Support Package is basically the firmware that initializes the processor, memory controller, chipset, and other certain bits that unfortunately don't have open-source initialization code available.

The FSP up to this point has been under a fairly restrictive license that hadn't allowed for the easy redistribution of these binaries and other complexities. But now Intel has replaced that burdensome license with the same license text as they are using for their CPU microcode files. The short and unofficial summary of that license text is it allows for redistribution (and benchmarking, if so desired) of the binaries and the restricts essentially come down to no reverse-engineering/disassembly of the binaries and respecting the copyright. That license text in full is available from 01.org.


This license change to the FSP comes a short time after they made available the Intel Coffeelake FSP.

Intel has confirmed in the Coreboot mailing list of this license change for their FSP and also within their GitHub repository.

That few paragraph license text replaces their previous nine page FSP license. That now-replaced license can be viewed here if you are interested.

Coreboot developers have confirmed to Phoronix the significance of this relicensing and should yield "a huge step towards better FSP integration into coreboot, LinuxBoot and TianoCore." One of the immediate benefits is much easier distribution rights on the binaries.

It's not as great as the FSP being fully open-source, but it's an improvement nevertheless, and at least they continue offering this updated FSP for new hardware generations so that new CPU/chipset support can be available via Coreboot/LinuxBoot.
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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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