So presumably, since microcode patches are required for correct functioning
of Intel processors, the ability run on an Intel CPU must also be removed.
These microcode patches are downloadable firmware updates for the CPU,
pure and simple. And that's non-free, so as long as your distribution
contains the Intel Microcode Update Utility, it is not properly libre.
Some hardware has its firmware in ROM, but sometimes you need to patch that
ROM to get correct operation. I presume it will also not be permitted to use
any basically ROM-based hardware which was not perfect at manufacture.
Hardware people often think of firmware as just software, and they're wrong.
Software people who fail to think of firmware as part of the hardware are
If one accepts running on an Intel CPU, or any peripheral device with an
out-of-band method of updating its firmware, why does one not accept an in-
band method of updating the firmware? The important thing is that the API
for the device be published, and that all host operating systems should be
equal before it.
Now I may be wrong, but this all sounds very much to me like a bunch of
software people getting into an area where they aren't really experts.
Removing something with the intent of replacing it yourself in time, where
you have the necessary expertise, is one thing. Removing it in the hope of
annoying some unknown person into fixing it for you isn't quite the same
thing - that's just annoying people.
So out of curiosity, I wonder what *is* the plan with regard to fixing the
problem of hardware manufacturers not publishing their Verilog or VHDL or
whatever? And their manufacturing process? And detailed information on their
analogue parts (for things that deal with radio like WiFi and TV and FM). A
lot of is stuff you don't even *know* before you've got the part back from
That's what you'd need to write your own firmware after all. This isn't a
case of asking for an API reference.