[coreboot] Coreboot Purism BIOS is free? open?

Dame Más damemasporfavor at gmail.com
Tue Dec 19 22:14:38 CET 2017

THANKS KAKAROTO!! I alredy have fun!

If my head does not explode and my laptop does not explode, I'll write you

2017-12-19 21:54 GMT+01:00 Timothy Pearson <tpearson at raptorengineering.com>:

> Hash: SHA1
> Thank you for the detailed explanation.  I guess this is an area in
> which experience matters; it is absolutely unacceptable (and not
> unexpected) that Intel misled your CEO, but this is sadly not an
> uncommon tactic in the industry.
> One item I would like to call out though is the following:
> > if old or non-x86 architectures were so appealing, you would have seen
> that become the norm rather than the exception)
> No one is denying that the easiest course of action for everyone would
> have been for Intel or AMD to release owner-controllable CPUs.  That
> being said, individuals and organizations needing privacy and owner
> control are /not/ their target market, nor are those entities Intel (or
> AMD)'s secondary (or even tertiary) market.  Both Intel and AMD rely on
> their lock-in and close association with Windows and related software to
> provide cheap, but wholly locked down, CPUs *by design*.  You could look
> at it as the hardware vendor simply providing a leased tool on which to
> run the leased software -- in such a market, cost trumps everything,
> owner control is looked at as "enabling piracy", and as a result x86 is
> not an appropriate platform for anyone needing control or privacy.
> In this environment, one must make a choice between convenience (x86)
> and owner control.  As you mentioned, the only middle ground is
> relegated to ancient computers, and that is not where we place any hope
> at all.  Trying to switch architectures may be hard, but it is only
> going to get harder day after day as people continue to cling to false
> hope that the x86 platform may ever be brought under their control.  The
> simple fact is, the purchaser of an x86 machine is not Intel or AMD's
> customer, nor are the ODMs.  Their primary customers, in an odd sort of
> way, are actually the software vendors that require x86 for their
> existing applications, and they are the ones that will call the shots on
> features or antifeatures in the x86 walled garden.
> I wonder, though, if given this information if possibly Raptor and
> Purism might have some common business ground here?  Purism has
> experience with laptop mechanicals and related concerns, and we have
> experience with truly blob-free, powerful hardware -- combining those
> two could yield an interesting machine...
> On 12/19/2017 02:41 PM, Youness Alaoui wrote:
> > On Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 2:07 PM, Timothy Pearson
> > <tpearson at raptorengineering.com> wrote:
> > On 12/19/2017 11:51 AM, Dame Más wrote:
> >>>> I finished the University and I have free time to do things. And this
> >>>> seems like an interesting project to which I dedicate many hours.
> >>>>
> >>>> The truth is that I read a lot these days. The work you do kakaroto is
> >>>> impressive.
> >>>> In general Purism is doing something big, and I spoke ahead of time.
> >>>>
> >>>> I saw that in the directory
> >>>> coreboot/3rdparty/blobs/mainboard/purism/
> >>>> there is no content, it is right?
> >>>>
> >>>> Thanks
> >
> > The main question I have, and this is an honest question, is why Purism
> > chose to use the x86 platform as a base for libre hardware, when it has
> > been known for some time that said hardware could never be made fully
> > blob-free?
> >
> > There were (and are) other good ways to make a system that could be
> > fully blob-free, for instance ARM, and given the engineering effort that
> > is said to have been put into the Purism machines I wonder what we could
> > have had if said effort had been put into an aarch64 system instead of
> > an x86 system?
> >
> >> That's a very good question and you're not the first one to ask it.
> >
> >> I think it's a combination of quite a few things. First, the fact that
> >> I don't think there were any realistically powerfuly/competing
> >> ARM/PPC/risc systems available at the time (or if there were, the
> >> price would have been too high to make it a "security focused laptop
> >> for everyone"). The purpose of Purism is not to satisfy a niche
> >> market, but rather to be something everyone will want whether or not
> >> they care about the security like we do, but which would still provide
> >> them with that security that they need. I think even now, you can't
> >> have an ARM device that could compete with an i7 in terms of
> >> performance.
> >
> >> The second reason is that Todd (CEO) was in talks with Intel and was
> >> unfortunately lead to believe that they were open to release an
> >> ME-less design CPU for his needs, it ended up not being the case.
> >
> >> The last reason is because I think that through this discussion
> >> (https://mail.coreboot.org/pipermail/coreboot/2014-August/078511.html)
> >> Todd thought that it would be possible to get a binary blob free
> >> coreboot/CPU with a few months of work. He didn't realize that it was
> >> a much harder thing to achieve because the FSP takes a lot of time to
> >> reverse engineer (remember, he thought he would have an ME-less CPU
> >> from Intel), but from what I read in one of his answers, he had
> >> already decided on x86 by the time he wrote that mail to the mailing
> >> list, so I'm not sure if it really answers your question.
> >
> >> I think those that provide non-x86 (or pre-2008 x86) machines are
> >> already there to fill the blob-free need, and it's not healthy to just
> >> compete with them. A good summary is that we want to "bring blob-free
> >> to the hardware that people want", rather than "bring blob-free
> >> hardware to the people who want it".
> >
> >> Finally, I'll paste you one of my explanations from an email I sent
> >> here last May, which kind of summarizes it all (from
> >> https://mail.coreboot.org/pipermail/coreboot/2017-May/084166.html)
> >
> >> "[...], You ask why Purism doesn't just create laptops using FX2 or ARM
> or
> >> whatever... Well, because that's not what most people want, out there.
> If
> >> you want a RYF laptop using old or underpowered hardware or non-x86
> >> architectures, that's a problem that has already been solved, there are
> >> various resellers of such devices. The idea here is not to "Use what we
> can
> >> find to make RYF" but rather "Bring RYF to the hardware that people
> want".
> >> What I believe Purism is trying to do is to create a modern laptop for
> >> *everyone* with the extra value of security and privacy, and in the
> process
> >> make FLOSS appealing to mainstream instead of letting it be confined in
> a
> >> niche. I think everyone will be better off with tools to protect their
> >> privacy/security without asking them to throw the baby with the
> bathwater
> >> by requiring them to use hardware that does not interest them
> (otherwise,
> >> if old or non-x86 architectures were so appealing, you would have seen
> that
> >> become the norm rather than the exception)."
> >
> >> I hope that fully answers your question.
> >
> >> Thanks!
> >> Youness.
> >
> >
> >
> - --
> Timothy Pearson
> Raptor Engineering
> +1 (415) 727-8645 (direct line)
> +1 (512) 690-0200 (switchboard)
> https://www.raptorengineering.com
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