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[liberationtech] Fwd: Firefox OS with built in support for OpenPGP encryption

Blibbet blibbet at gmail.com
Thu Sep 19 11:01:43 PDT 2013


> I don't think so -- unless you have a laptop flashed with a free
> software BIOS / boot firmware that you can inspect and modify. There are
> a handful of dated possibilities out there like that (Thinkpad x60
> models that support coreboot, Lemote Yeelongs), but not the vast
> majority of laptops. The situation with laptops actually seems pretty
> analogous to the worst category of smartphones (those where the baseband
> firmware shares the main CPU and RAM).

Unfortunately, Coreboot is still not mainstream, netiher is Lemote.

UEFI is the current mainstream system firmware, for Intel systems, and 
ramping up quickly for ARM (though not yet on Android-based devices yet, 
AFAIK).

Intel's Tunnel Mountain UEFI dev platform lets you flash your own 
UEFI-based firmware, and mainly targets firmware IHVs.
http://www.tunnelmountain.net/
http://uefidk.intel.com/develop/workstation-development-kit

The Intel Atom-based MinnowBoard is a new UEFI dev platform, and it's 
Linux-based, and targets hackers; it uses Intel's definition of "Open 
Hardware", mainly meaning no NDAs involved. It is much cheaper and 
smaller than the above box.
http://minnowboard.org/
http://uefidk.intel.com/content/minnowboard-uefi-firmware

Both of these boxes let you reflash your system firmware with your 
custom build of BSD-licensed TianoCore UEFI.

For Linaro's Linux/ARM device targets, Linaro also has a fork of 
Tianocore, and ships their own images. You can use the Linaro targets 
and modify this forked Tianocore firmware, as well, but it requires a 
bit more ARM-centric eLinux skills.
https://wiki.linaro.org/ARM/UEFI

<soapbox>

There is a large OEM/ODM/IBV/IHV/ISV ecosystem that currently runs the 
hardware, and it is UEFI-centric. IMO, focusing only on fringe 
Lemote/Coreboot technology is not a good bet.

Personally, I wish EFF/FSF and other open/free tech groups would form a 
Linaro-like firmware group and produce their own UEFI firmware image, as 
an option for OEMs.

There needs to be some Free Boot alternative to Secure Boot, with certs 
from EFF/FSF/etc and the open source distro vendors, not just OEMs/MSFT 
in the firmware, and it needs to target booting from a handful of main 
open source distros, not just 1 commercial OS. Else, UEFI will turn 
Personal Computers into Windows PCs, ending the era of General Purpose 
computing.

</soapbox>




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