Libreboot

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Heavy progress is being made on a new Libreboot release. The work is being done in osboot-libre. osboot-libre is a deblobbed, libre fork of osboot, itself a fork of Libreboot. A newer coreboot version is being used, with many bug fixes and new features on existing hardware, and lots of new hardware is being added. You can see my work here:
https://notabug.org/osboot/osbmk/commits/libre

There is also a new Libreboot website in development. See:
http://81.187.191.155/

Right now, osboot-libre supports all x86 hardware from Libreboot, plus ThinkPad R500, and now a bunch of Intel Pineview and Intel X4X platforms are being added from coreboot. Stay tuned! The release will be out soon. It will be an unstable/testing release, and from that point on, there will be regular snapshot releases. Rigorous testing is needed, but most of the boards should work fine (the ThinkPads are well-tested already, in osboot-libre).

Stay tuned! The current libreboot website is obsolete. This version of libreboot will soon be nuked, and the new site (linked above) will be moved here. The reason I'm doing the work in osboot-libre is because: as soon as the new Libreboot release is out, osboot-libre will be updated to use the latest coreboot/grub/seabios and so on, focusing on being a rolling release, bleeding edge coreboot distro, while libreboot focuses on well-tested stable releases.

NOTE: the work-in-progress website, linked above, says that a new Libreboot release came out on May 1st, 2021, but please ignore it. The release isn't ready yet, but it soon will be! I'm working on the release non-stop, so as to honour the ETA that was specified in this news announcement on 30 March 2021:
https://libreboot.org/news/libreboot202104xx.html

Libreboot is freedom-respecting boot firmware, initialising the hardware and booting an operating system. This replaces the proprietary BIOS/UEFI boot firmware found in computers. Libreboot is compatible with certain computers that have been ported to on ARM and x86.

Boot firmware is the low-level software in a computer, which executes the moment that computer is turned on. It brings all of the components (CPU, memory controller, some peripherals and so on) into a useable state so that it can easily run software. The boot firmware will typically load an operating system (GNU+Linux, BSD, etc) which provides a common interface for application software to make use of hardware in the computer. In addition to Libreboot, we also recommend the use of a freedom respecting operating system as defined by the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines (so, no Windows/Mac. Use GNU+Linux!)

Combined, the boot firmware and operating system provide a unified interface which makes computers functional whether for day to day usage or software development.

Libreboot’s main upstream provider is coreboot, and we don’t include binary blobs in our images. We upstream our custom patches to projects like coreboot, depthcharge, GRUB, and flashrom where possible. Together, our build system and documentation is provided with the aim of making free boot firmware accessible to all. In other words, Libreboot is a coreboot distribution! Put simply, Libreboot integrates all of the required software components into a single unified package that is applicable to most use-case scenarios.

We provide user support via #libreboot IRC on Freenode. Development discussion also occurs on IRC. Instructions for sending patches are on the git page.

Why use Libreboot?

Did you know you have rights? The right to privacy, freedom of thought, freedom of speech and the right to read. In the context of computing, that means anyone can use free software. Simply speaking, free software is software that is under the direct sovereignty of the user and, more importantly, the collective that is the community. Non-free software (e.g. Windows, MacOS or proprietary BIOS/UEFI) is under the exclusive control of its owners, not users! With freedom-respecting software, the users can at any time study the source code, and even become developers themselves! Want to help the cause? Some ways you can contribute might be to write documentation, provide user support, or test others’ contributions. Need more ideas on how you can help with the project? See the git page. If you would like a specific feature developed but you are not technically inclined, you can hire anybody you would like to do the work for you. With free software, you are essentially the owner of your own copy which is why it’s free (as in freedom).

Many people use non-free proprietary boot firmware, even if they use GNU+Linux. Non-free BIOS/UEFI firmware often contains backdoors, can be slow and have severe bugs. Development and support can be abandoned at any time. By contrast, libreboot is fully free software, where anyone can contribute or inspect its code. Libreboot is not simply free software; it is also copyleft software, released under (for the most part) a mixture of GNU General Public License v2 and v3. This means that the software will always be free for everyone. If someone were to take Libreboot and try to make it proprietary, they’d be breaking the law. In other words, copyleft ensures a public commons where all knowledge and power is shared without discrimination.

Libreboot is faster, more secure and more reliable than most non-free firmware. Libreboot provides many advanced features, like encrypted /boot/, GPG signature checking before booting a Linux kernel and more!

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