Conill: the FSF’s relationship with firmware is harmful to free software users

[Briefs] Posted Jan 23, 2022 23:54 UTC (Sun) by corbet

Ariadne Conill writes about the FSF’s policy toward proprietary firmware and, specifically, the rules for “Respects Your Freedom” certification.

Purism was able to accomplish this by making the Librem 5 have not one, but two processors: when the phone first boots, it uses a secondary CPU as a service processor, which loads all of the relevant blobs (such as those required to initialize the DDR4 memory) before starting the main CPU and shutting itself off. In this way, they could have all the blobs they needed to use, without having to worry about them being user visible from PureOS. Under the policy, that left them free and clear for certification.

This is not a new story; see Papering over a binary blob from 2011, for example.

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