Libreboot

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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, from which we remove binary blobs. 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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