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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] The state of Libre Hardware

From: D. Joe
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] The state of Libre Hardware
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2018 13:30:31 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

On Wed, Mar 07, 2018 at 04:55:30PM -0500, wrote:

> Up until recently your computer was truly yours, only recently have both
> x86_64 OEM's Intel and AMD added black box supervisor processors and
> hardware level code signing enforcement as a backdoor and to currently
> prevent you from modifying your computers firmware and in the future prevent
> you from installing linux on the average computer entirely

The extent to which this seems new speaks to how extensively one has been
ignoring the rise of computing machines for which this sort of lock-down has
been endemic: ARM-based mobile devices.  It applies to most ARM devices--
whether tablet or "phone", but particularly the latter--for which the
"radio" processor serves the role in which the Intel Management engine and
its AMD counterparts serves on that hardware: Running nonfree binary blobs
with sufficient control to compromise the freedom and security of anything
on the "application" processor.

It's hard for me not to wonder where we might be in fighting this sort of
freedom threat had we not spent the time of their rise holed up in the
little corner of decent hardware freedom we had left on x86.

Retreating even further to POWER architecture might be satisfying from a
purity perspective, and far be it from me to dissuade anyone with the time
and money to pursue that from doing so, but putting too many of our eggs in
that basket (now to thoroughly mix my metaphors) is a further march down the
road towards absolutely software freedom but for an ever more marginal

(See also: The broad adoption of MIPS-based laptops like the Lemote

D. Joe

[1] Or, maybe, instead of marginal, privileged. 
[2] Not really, this is purely tongue-in-cheek.

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