[Dev] [Gnewsense-dev] New project: gNewSenseToMips-3A

Michał Masłowski mtjm at mtjm.eu
Sun Dec 9 16:08:48 GMT 2012

> Is the Loongson 3A laptop (Yeeloong 8133?) free hardware?

"Free hardware" means hardware with a design that the user can change or
manufacture, not hardware that works without nonfree software.  The lack
of public "source code" of the GPU or documentation of some of its parts
(e.g. the ISAs of microcode provided by the operating system) clearly
prevents it from being free hardware, while there are such (non-Radeon)
GPUs that work without nonfree software specific to it.

> The last thing I read was interview with RMS where he said that he used
> a Yeeloong but specifically that it was *not* the new one [8133] as it
> need non-free firmware for the video.  These need answering for the 8133:

The issue is the Radeon BIOS blob in PMON, maybe also the optional
microcode loaded by the operating system (which is easier to not use).

> 3. What non-free firmware in software is required to run the hardware?
> (Such as, to display on the screen, use an external display or to use
> the wired Ethernet.)

What does "in software" mean here?  Do you refer to nonfree code run on
the main CPU, or run on other CPUs but shipped with the operating

> People are free to work on what they want but, depending on the answers,
> from a software freedom point of view it might be better improving the
> software for 8101 and 8089.

I think this was the usual opinion on gNewSense and Parabola channels.

If the developers had them, 3A machines could be useful for improving
the software used on the 2F YeeLoong.  Most missing features or bugs
that I have seen in Parabola seem to occur on all MIPS or N32 systems,
not only on ones with the specific CPU and GPU used on the YeeLoong.
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