kernel-libre (hopefully 100% Free) for Fedora 8 and rawhide

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at
Tue Mar 25 17:18:01 UTC 2008

On Mar 25, 2008, Dave Jones <davej at> wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 04:25:53AM -0400, Alan Cox wrote:

>> I also found it amusing last time I looked that the free software
>> extremists were removing firmware which wasn't code, removing
>> firmware which you'd write in hex anyway etc.

Being exeutable code for another platform isn't the important bit.
The important bit is whether it's source code that someone can study
and modify freely.  If it's just a bunch of numbers you can't possibly
understand because there's no documentation, it doesn't matter if it's
binary without source transcribed to hex, or a series of numbers of
unknown effect because whoever wrote it is under an NDA.  You still
don't have freedom #1, so it's still non-Free Software.

> And neglecting to remove plenty of other firmware.

Examples are welcome.

> And not just in the kernel either.

Then it's out of scope for this project.

> The x86 microcode updater is a pretty essential thing to have run
> during bootup. Some early Pentium III's locked up when running 2.6
> kernels under load unless they had an update applied.

And people don't take it up to Intel that they shipped a defective

> Removing this package will make you more "free" at the expense
> of breaking some percentage of the userbase.
> This "well my system is ok, screw everyone else" approach is what I find
> so fundamentally broken in this idea.

You misunderstand the idea.

Everyone who's talking about removing stuff from Fedora misunderstood
the suggestion.

I'm talking about adding a new package, that's all.  The original
package will be unchanged.

I'm not asking you to change your procedures.

I'm not asking you to help me maintain it.

I'm not asking you to stop doing what you're doing.

> Especially as the people advocating for this aren't those who get to
> deal with the fallout when users start filing bugs.

What part of separate package maintained by myself did you not

Or are you volunteering to take over these efforts? :-)

Alexandre Oliva
FSF Latin America Board Member
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{,}
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{,}

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