Some Intel Firmware Binaries Will Reportedly Be More Liberally Licensed
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 5 September 2019 at 08:10 AM EDT. Add A Comment
INTEL --
One interesting nugget of news from this week's Open-Source Firmware Conference is that some Intel firmware binaries pertaining to their Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) will be more liberally licensed under their simpler microcode/firmware license.

Open-source firmware consulting firm 3mdeb shared that Intel will reportedly publish TXT-related binaries like BIOS and SINIT ACMs under a similar license to the Intel FSP and microcode.

It was last year that Intel cleared up their microcode licensing under a simpler license and presumably would be the same license for these additional boot/firmware related bits.

At OSFC 2019, there hasn't been anything new on Intel completely opening up their Firmware Support Package (FSP) as open-source or freeing the Management Engine or anything along those lines. Though there are a number of Intel engineers there talking about their modern firmware efforts, Minimum Platform effort, and related initiatives that are at least partially open. We're still waiting to see how Raja's efforts will ultimately play out for what he's talked of before as potentially open-sourcing the FSP but at least when talking to him back at OSTS was still a work-in-progress.

It's nice seeing Intel at least better embracing Coreboot these days even though some binary blobs are still at play. Coreboot does seem content with pulling in binary components as we've seen with the existing FSP and other components, to the point the effort is less about being an open-source BIOS/firmware implementation and more about being an open framework. So as more hardware vendors begin supporting Coreboot, for open-source fans it's important to realize that alone is less impactful compared to before, but for those looking at a completely open-source solution there is the Oreboot project in its early stages, Libreboot for being a fully libre Coreboot downstream, and the likes of Raptor Computing Systems' hardware that is completely open and transparent to the user.
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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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