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Dividing the Linux desktop
LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 13, 2013
A report from pgCon 2013
Little things that matter in language design
Between Fedora 12 and 13
Posted Dec 12, 2009 4:31 UTC (Sat) by Xnux (guest, #62436)
I understand that firmware helps make the distro available on more hardware, but I don't want that firmware on the kernel by default. The Freed-ora project (related to Linux-libre) provides such a firmware-less kernel for Fedora, but I don't have nearly enough technical expertise to bundle it with Fedora myself. That's why I hope the Fedora developers work on phasing out binary blobs by default.
Posted Dec 12, 2009 19:16 UTC (Sat) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
the firmware provides an Interface that the OS then uses to manipulate the hardware. If the hardware doesn't change there isn't much need for the firmware to change.
remember that if a particular card doesn't have a firmware blob in the kernel, that doesn't mean that there isn't firmware, it just means that the firmware is in flash or ROM on the card, which is even slower to update.
so why are you willing to use a device that you can't update over one where you (or your linux distro) can pick which version of released firmware you are going to run on the device?
Posted Dec 13, 2009 0:55 UTC (Sun) by Xnux (guest, #62436)
I suppose I was under the assumption that blob = proprietary, but maybe I'm wrong. In any case, Fedora should not be content with redistributable-but-closed-source firmware--we need to work on providing open source firmware for different computer hardware as quickly as possible.
Posted Dec 13, 2009 3:08 UTC (Sun) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
non-trivial hardware will not operate without firmware period.
that firmware may be in ROM on the chip.
it may be in flash on the card that requires special hardware to modify
it may be in flash on the card that can be replaced through the driver or other software when plugged in normally
it may be loaded at startup time from the driver.
in all four cases it can be a binary blob that I cannot modify.
in the fourth case I at least have the option of selecting which firmware blob (and there for which feature/api set that the vendor offers) I want to use. It is the most free of the four options.
yes it would be even better if it was opensource with full internal documentation of how the device was put togeather, but while that is something to strive for I don't see how arguing that devices that use firmware installed by the driver is worse than devices that have the same firmware in flash that requires a windows-only program to update makes sense.
Posted Dec 13, 2009 19:46 UTC (Sun) by Xnux (guest, #62436)
Projects like this already exist (e.g., gNewSense, Trisquel, BLAG, Freed-ora, Freed-ebian, etc.), but they are usually woefully behind the current releases of the distributions that they are based on (which are usually Debian/Ubuntu or Fedora). I want a distribution that combines Fedora's recent software packages and gNewSense's 100% software without having to settle for an out-of-date distribution (for example, gNewSense is still based on Ubuntu LTS, which is 8.04 Hardy Heron).
Posted Dec 13, 2009 9:37 UTC (Sun) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946)
I am not sure what you want to do with alternative kernels but building such a image is fairly easy.
If you need further help, you are free to post to the Fedora list or even contact me directly.
Posted Dec 13, 2009 19:59 UTC (Sun) by Xnux (guest, #62436)
I suppose what I am interested in doing is creating a version of Fedora that replaces the default Linux kernel with the Freed-ora version of the Linux-libre kernel (which can be found at http://www.fsfla.org/download/linux-libre/freed-ora/F-12/) and removes any software specifically affected by patents (e.g., Mono and its dependencies, MP3 playback, DVD CSS, etc.). That way, when I actually burn this custom distro to a Live CD, it does not contain any non-free or patent-encumbered software.
Thank you for your help.
Posted Dec 14, 2009 0:53 UTC (Mon) by vonbrand (subscriber, #4458)
Since there are probably (idiotic) software patents covering everything from linked lists to writing "Hello, world!", there just isn't a viable Linux distribution (or any other operating system, for that matter) that isn't patent encumbered.
Posted Dec 14, 2009 5:26 UTC (Mon) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946)
It is fairly easy. As an example of custom Fedora Remix, feel free to take a look at
Since the alternative kernels you are talking about is part of a repository, you can simply point to it within a kickstart file. Third party repositories usually have the repository files as part of foo-release that needs to be added to the kickstart file and software updater will be able to pick up updates easily. Gobuntu doesn't actually exist anymore btw and Fedora Project is unlikely to be interested in maintaining any kernel variants.
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