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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] EOMA68 - libre software, libre hardware, and e

From: Tobias Platen
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] EOMA68 - libre software, libre hardware, and eco-friendly too!
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2016 22:51:15 +0200
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On 06/30/2016 10:11 PM, Joshua Gay wrote:
On 06/29/2016 07:17 PM, Thadeu Lima de Souza Cascardo wrote:
On Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 10:52:36AM +1200, Koz Ross wrote:
I just came across this amazing project:

Needless to say - I've supported it, because I believe we need more projects
like this one if we are to free our computing. The fact that they're going
full libre *and* seeking RYF certification is great *just by itself*, but
the use of recycling, the eco-friendliness of the project and the *wooden*
casings are just icing on an amazing cake for me.

I'm just posting it to this list, as I want as many people as possible to hear
about something which I believe deserves our support (and money).

Note that the A20 SOC comes with a Mali GPU, which does not have a free
driver that I know of. There are reverse engineering efforts, in the
Lima project, but lack of manpower means it has yet to produce a driver
users could install.

You probably can use it as a framebuffer with some simple framebuffer
driver, but this is hardly ideal as the project page seems to imply.

I am always cautious when I see something that says 100% Free when it
comes to hardware support. Of course, they can ship something that they
can claim is 100% Free, but not without missing some important hardware
support. I would love for some future where we will reach an ideal
situation and I try to build it when possible. I think they are trying
to do that too, but the lack of this important information is

The idea here is that there will be several different products that
people can choose to fund. Not all products are seeking FSF's Respects
Your Freedom (RYF) certification. The products that are seeking RYF
certification will not have a functioning Mali GPU chip, it will not be
advertised as a feature to be used with that product, and graphics
support will be provided by the main CPU.

The general rule we have is that if a product has a co-processors that
will not work without added nonfree software, then we will decide on a
case by case basis whether or not we will award RYF certification to
that product.

The situation we do not want is where a person buys some hardware
expecting certain functionality and they discover that it does not have
that functionality available to them and so they immediately go ahead
and install some nonfree firmware to make use of the coprocessor that
would otherwise be disabled and non-functional.

In this particular situation, the RYF certified hardware will use the
main processor for graphics and the Mali chipset will not be functional
or enabled. It is our assumption that a person purchasing an RYF
certified product will not be lead to install nonfree software,
especially given the fact that there are similar products readily
available to them which do have a functional GPU requiring the ue of
nonfree software.

We have not yet awarded the use of RYF certification mark on the final
product. But, we have allowed a provisional use of the RYF certification
mark in this marketing material under the condition that if RYF
certification is not achieved on the final product by the time the
products are available, then those who funded the project could have the
option of seeking a refund if they choose. This is stated on the page.

This decision to allow provisional use of RYF certification mark and
name came after extensive discussion with all parties involved in the
marketing of this fundraising campaign and only after receiving a
prototype board for initial review. Awarding the use of RYF
certification on the product itself and in conjunction with the sale of
the actual product can only be done after we have tested and reviewed
samples of the final products and marketing material.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
There is a free reverse engineered driver for the Mali 200 and the Mali 400 GPU, which makes it possible to play Quake 3 Arena on the A20 SOC.
Crowdfunding could be used to improve the driver.

The Raspberry Pi is another example of a computer that cannot be RYF endorsed yet, because it uses an unsigned proprietary boot firmware. But the instructions set of its GPU has been reverse engineered and several free compilers (other than GCC) can generate code for the GPU.
There is an experimental firmware [1], that can boot a Linux kernel.


Sent from my Libreboot X200

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