Marcus's Blog

Archive for November, 2015

FlashDays are coming

Friday, November 27th, 2015

In the past, we offered pre-flashed Libreboot Laptops at – but this has been a bit counterproductive.

Now we decided to change the concept slightly. Instead of offering pre-flashed devices, we are now going to organize so called FlashDays where you can bring your supported Laptop and we are going to show you, how to do the flashing. We have got all equipment available (like some BBBs and the Panoma Clips, power supply and cables) so we should be ready to start.

The plan is that you can also buy a Wireless Card that runs with Free Software at the event. Even if you do not own a supported Laptop yet, you can tell us in advance and we can check if we can provide one for you at cost price. The first FlashDays are going to happen in Zurich. Dates are not yet set, but you can already fill the contact form on our website, if you are interested in taking part.

If you are a experienced Libreboot hacker, you could also help us by organizing a FlashDay in your town. Just get in touch with us.

It’s NotABug …

Friday, November 20th, 2015

As Gitorious recently faded away, we have been searching for a Git Hosting solution for our FSFE Localgroup Zurich. We have evaluated several options including self-hosting. The latter has been tested with a software called GitBucket but it seems that a lot of recourses are required for that. At least it does not work well on my Atom-based Server.

Luckily we have discovered a hosting service that respects User Freedom called NotABug. It is based on a Free Software solution called gogs and has a lot of features, e.g. the ability to create and manage organizations. I have already started to port our repositories. Some of them are public and some private.

If you are interested in setting up a manageable Git repository, please give gogs a try, either by installing it on your own server or by joining a hosting solution like NotABug. Hopefully it will be possible to install a Git hosting service on a Freedombox as well in the near future.

Freed-ora 23 Workstation available

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Yesterday, Fedora 23 has been released. In line with this, I have prepared a Freed version, which includes linux-libre kernel and Icecat webbrowser. All proprietary firmware has been removed.

If you want to give it a try, feel free to download the ISO image. The sha256 checksum can be found here.

The image is based on the Fedora 23 Workstation release which contains GNOME as default desktop environment. The Freed-ora repository has been added already for your convenience. Thanks to Alexandre Oliva for his great work on the repo.

Just in case you are curious about how it’s build, please take a look at the freed-ora.ks file. You can also modify it, according to your needs, e.g. create a Spin based on the Xfce version of Fedora. The build itself can be started with:

livecd-creator --verbose --config=freed-ora.ks --fslabel=Freed-ora-23-x86_64 --cache =/var/cache/live

Besides that, I want to thank for his help on building the live image.

Why you should avoid autoboot

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Recently I have discovered a new project called Autoboot which is a fork of Libreboot (including website design) that adds Blobs again.

The idea of Libreboot is to offer a fully Free (as in speech) BIOS, avoiding any blobs. This is why proprietary code like the Intel AMT blobs or the CPU microcode has been removed. The disadvantage of this removal is that only a limited number of boards is supported at the moment (see hardware compatibility list). The Libreboot team is working hard to continuously increase the number of supported devices, but there are some limitations, as removal of the AMT code in post 2008 Lenovo machines is a difficult task (might even be impossible). Most recent additions have been some AMD based mainboards which do not have those kind of limitations.

Autoboot makes use of the Libreboot build system (which is of course available under a Free License) and skips the Blob removal in order to support a larger number of devices. If your Freedom is important to you, you should not use this BIOS versions. If you are a developer, who is interested in User Freedom, you should join the Libreboot project in order to support more hardware. Upstream development happens in Coreboot and this is where nearly all Libreboot patches are landing as well.