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(Linux Vendor Firmware Service) removes yet another blocker for Linux adoption.

Thank You, Richard Hughes 👍
(shut up rms!)

phoronix.com/scan.php?page=new

@tagomago well, yes... The same ones we already have in our computers, just more up to date.

@codewiz eventually Linux will become so much like Windows that people will just run Windows.

@elliptic I don't think Windows has anything nearly as good as .

It's the usual hell of going to disparate websites to download and install horrible vendor-specific apps for each motherboard, SSD drive or thunderbolt hub you possess...

...or, as is most common, keep the security and stability bugs unpatched forever.

@elliptic irrelevant and illogical. "Eventually Linux will become so much like Windows that people will just run Windows [because of a feature Windows doesn't have]"?

@tagomago irrelevant. LVFS doesn't have anything to do with the blobs that may or may not be in your kernel. LVFS is about updating things like UEFI and the firmwares that runs the plethora of devices that collectively make up modern computers. You may be thinking of libreboot, but that only replaces one.

@codewiz LVFS is amazing. I recently got a new computer and was astounded that updating the various firmwares / UEFI was so easy. It even works from a live USB! (As long as you have UEFI sysfs and a bootable partition mounted)

@brian @codewiz @elliptic

I know nothing about it... I just get it's kind of a repository manager for vendor software so that it doesn't depend on kernel updates? Still, based on what many vendors do, I guess a lot of that are just... blobs?

@tagomago (just picking a device at random, but this applies to many parts of a computer.) An NVME drive has a computer on it that manages that drive and reading / writing data to the actual flash. That computer has it's own little OS. That OS is loaded when it starts up from it's own dedicated storage, regardless of how it's being started up, what OS the computer is running (or if there even is an OS running, as long as it gets initialization commands). The OS that little computer is running is the NVME drive's "firmware".

The firmware that these things run normally never gets updated by non-tech savvy users, because it's a pain and requires software that the OEM provides (often only for Windows), or requires booting into UEFI and selecting an update file, etc... LVFS provides a repository that OEMs can put their firmware in, as well as a tool to check for and install these updates. It's now polished enough that it can now be presented to the user like any other update, so even grandma can update her firmware.

@brian Thanks a lot for the explanation! I think it's a good idea, I'm just not interested or that excited over anything that acts neutral towards nonfree software (or firmware), although it brings some technical advantages. That's my bias, I guess. Btw, I've never updated any firmware on my soon to be 8-year-old box. It just keeps working 😅

cc @codewiz

@tagomago @brian @elliptic Yes, they're blobs, and some quite obnoxious (ME, AMT...).

Hopefully one day we'll get rid of them thanks to project like and Sound Open Firmware.

But for the time being, these blobs are running on our hardware and must be updated to fix security, power management and stability bugs that affect Linux too.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Ma

@tagomago @brian @elliptic Working for the several years ago taught me that you rarely win a war by painting yourself into a corner where you abstain from using any modern technology which is highly relevant to users (cell phones, tablets, game consoles, and even the majority of the web).

ryf.fsf.org/categories/laptops

@tagomago @brian @elliptic While the FSF advocates purism and can only recommend old laptops which aren't even being produced any more, RedHat and Canonical have been hard at work to ensure that users can buy any laptop from Lenovo and Dell and get Linux preinstalled with all the hardware 100% working. This is a huge leap for millions of non-technical users who would otherwise be forced into Windows or macOS.

@codewiz @brian @elliptic

Well, actually I think they just aim for that perfection, but accept that it's not feasible for everyone. They just want regular users to be aware of the big problems that nonfree software poses.

I don't know if you got to read the latest article on Zoom by the (controversial, yes) RMS. It's everything but purist:

gnu.org/philosophy/saying-no-e

@codewiz

And anyway, the big threat now is not inside the devices, where you can mostly be safe and quite free, but from online services. Services that are completely opaque and could be easily substituted by free and even offline solutions.

@tagomago Let's say that the threat is both on devices and online.

I don't feel very safe, knowing that both OnePlus and Google have root on my phone, and either one can legally be compelled by their respective governments to hand off my personal data.

Today, high-value targets, like journalists, politicians and human-rights activists, have literally no place to hide their files from prying eyes, unless they're willing to live without technology.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Place

@codewiz Sure, I didn't mean you're safe by default on a device. But can't you like... flash your device and "degoogle" it, as they say? Given that smartphones (and their OS) are so entwined with online services, they are most dangerous in that respect... I ditched my smartphone a while ago, and just go on with a "feature phone".

@tagomago Ouch. I wouldn't be able to survive in Japan without a smartphone. I rely on the phone to translate labels at the supermarket and to read paper mail I receive. Not to mention directions.

I greatly respect your desire to live free, but consider that it's a difficult trade-off for most people. We need to develop solutions to bring down the cost of ditching proprietary services, like the GNU project once did to displace proprietary UNIX.

@codewiz Yes we need to build. Cause, don't you think we're growing too dependent on technologies we can't afford any trust? I advocate for de-escalating this at the same time, but it's a process and everyone starts where they are and do what they can.

I'm sure you could survive without a smartphone, it would just be a different life. You'd for sure miss things, probably anything that important, and perhaps you'd engage in more interactions with people.

@tagomago I have a tendency to overuse hyperbole 😅

Yes, I believe we're growing too dependent on technology we don't control. But uninventing it is impossible, and renouncing the convenience is too high of a price for most users.

The solution I see, is helping the free software community get better at producing innovation, to the point that there's no better alternative.

We've been able to do exactly this for compilers and kernels. Why not desktops, phones and online services? Open question.

@tagomago @brian @elliptic Yes, this is a much more relatable rms than ever before.

And really, there's no good reason for using Zoom when the free alternatives work just fine or even better.

Yet, I have a Japanese friend who organizes nice language learning groups. Even without going as far as saying "freedom-denying program", I managed to alienate her with my requests to switch to another platform.

She told me that she has already paid $16 for Zoom, so...

Yes, it doesn't make sense.

@tagomago @brian @elliptic
Meanwhile, Google is pushing in modern hardware developed by various OEMs and shipped in volumes of millions. These laptops still use some blobs, but getting rid of the PC BIOS / UEFI firmware is a giant step forward.

Perhaps, one day one of those OEMs will figure that Coreboot could be used with non-Chromebook hardware too.

Google subsidizing the development of Coreboot is our only hope, really.

@tagomago @brian @elliptic A few years ago, I managed to flash on my ThinkPad X230.

But we can't seriously expect everyone to go through this just in the name of freedom:
codewiz.org/wiki/CorebootX230

I had fun, but our free time for hacking would be better spent working with large OEMs to remove any remaining barriers to mass adoption of Coreboot.

@brian

My comment is neither irrelevant nor illogical. fwupd is literally following Microsoft Update as a template, down to using CAB files.

It's not really all that different than Poettering using Windows insipiration for the way systemd does things (with it ending up being similar to svchost.exe). That's without even getting into basic Unix architecture philosophy or mission scope.

Linux today is reasonably well integrated in Windows itself via WSL.

So... yeah.

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