Le mardi 20 octobre 2015 à 23:20 +0200, Carl-Daniel Hailfinger a écrit :
we obviously want to participate in FOSDEM. https://fosdem.org/2016/news/2015-09-24-call-for-participation/
Some deadlines already expired. Some can still be managed.
Main track talks: Deadline 2015-10-30 (10 days left) One hour of entertainment, huge audience. Anyone up for the challenge?
I have submitted a talk proposal about liberating modern computers, and will of course be talking about Coreboot there. Not everything I'm mentioning in the talk was properly documented at this point (especially regarding work on the KB9012 EC), but I hope to correct that before the event!
Liberating (modern) computers from the ground up: a tale of Libreboot, Chromebooks and EC
Most of the computers we use daily are relying on proprietary software at the lower levels. This includes the bootloader (previously known as BIOS), firmwares running on various microcontrollers inside peripherals and controllers and even microcodes inside processors. However, some devices and platforms perform better than others when it comes to software freedom at these levels: some are supported by free bootloaders, such as U-Boot and Coreboot. Thus, it becomes less of a stretch to liberate those devices, which is also crucial for privacy and security.
Chromebooks are such good targets, since they ship with Coreboot and a free embedded controller firmware. While some models still require proprietary pieces here and there, a few can actually boot up with only free software and are now supported by Libreboot, the fully free distribution of Coreboot. In addition, they implement a robust security model that, for once, does not conflict with the user's interest.
On the other hand, a few recent AMD devices also show real potential for free software, with possible areas of work for freeing them at the low levels. In particular, freeing the software running on such an AMD laptop's embedded controller is currently work in progress, with all the tools needed in hands.
Starting from a personal use case, this talk will first draw a general overview of the current status of free software support at the lower levels of modern computers, especially bootloaders, firmwares running inside chips and microcodes, with a particular emphasis on embedded devices. The common limitations when freeing these devices will be highlighted, along with the examples of recent Intel and AMD platforms and how they compare to different kinds of embedded systems on a chip.
With the overall picture of the situation a mind, the rest of the talk will focus on a few examples of modern computers that were picked up based on a personal use case and show potential for running with free software at the lower levels. This will highlight what was already achieved at this point, what is work in progress and what would be doable in the future.
The first interesting devices that will be mentioned are Chromebooks, with mention of how they usually perform better that most other modern computers when it comes to free software. While not all Chromebooks are good candidates for running a fully free bootloader (depending on the platform they're using), a few of them are, such as the C201 Chromebook (by Asus) that is now supported by Libreboot. This talk will highlight all the challenges encountered when adding support for this Chromebook to Libreboot and what is next for liberating it. Other potential Chromebooks that would be worth supporting in Libreboot will also be mentioned.
Still guided by a personal incentive, two modern computers, the G505s laptop (by Lenovo) and the F2A85-M (PRO) mainboard (by Asus) will be highlighted as they use an AMD platform that shows some potential for freedom, whereas modern Intel platforms appear to be fatally flawed. While the road to running those computers in freedom appears to be long, if not fatally obstructed, there are still some areas of work.
In particular, the road to freeing the G505s's KB9012 embedded controller will be presented in details, with an emphasis on the incentive behind it and security considerations regarding embedded controllers. This last part will show how it was possible to gather information on the platform, implement access to its internal flash externally, grab an UART serial port, solder standalone boards for tests and execute code on the device, up to blinking a LED!
Stands: Deadline 2015-11-13 (24 days left) I can send in the proposal if I'm not going to be alone there. How many tables do we want for our stand/booth(s)? Who is coming?
I will definitely be around at FOSDEM, not sure I should have a seat at the table at this point (I'm still pretty new to the community), but I'd be happy to come by!