[Dev] [GNU-linux-libre] [Riley Baird] LibertyBSD - OpenBSD minus the blobs

Riley Baird orthogonal at librewrt.org
Tue Dec 30 03:34:20 GMT 2014

On 30/12/14 14:13, Isaac David Reyes González wrote:
> "Better" is very broad. Most people in these lists would see the GPL as an
> advantage, but none would deny that Clang or LLVM are essentially free and
> compatible (maybe after some proofreading work) with the FSF's Free System
> Distribution Guidelines. As much as I prefer GCC and the GNU GPL in
> general, I wouldn't like to see precious efforts going to porting your
> OpenBSD spinoff back to GCC before actually making it a wholly free system.
> Not that I'm going to tell you how to spend your time, but getting a wholly
> free BSD is obviously the real issue here.
> To be honest I like the idea of staying as close as possible to upstream
> OpenBSD while also meeting the FSF standards, so OpenBSD users feel
> attracted to make the jump. I think this was your original intention. If
> manpower is scarce, ask no more and keep Clang (assuming it doesn't need
> further liberation-wise tuning). There are some points that I would like to
> ask though, because your emails and website didn't clarify them for me:

Thanks. This is exactly what I was trying to get across.

> How do we know beforehand that LibertyBSD is actually compliant with the
> FSDG? Why are you so confident that it will make it to the FSF list? Don't
> get me wrong, I don't underestimate your work and knowledge but I'm afraid
> that my donation might go to a dead end. I think going a bit more technical
> about what you are deblobbing and how you achieve it helps.

While I can't confirm for certain that LibertyBSD will make the FSF
list, I can confirm that I will try to make any changes the FSF deems

As for what I have done in terms of deblobbing, I have:
*Removed the binary-only firmware
*Made kernel and other minor modifications to get around this
*Renamed various parts of the distribution from OpenBSD to LibertyBSD
(the uname has been kept as "OpenBSD" for compatibility reasons).

There isn't much more to it than that. I've got

> Assuming some trusted third party reviews your work and confirms it is
> libre, how will LibertyBSD be maintained? I look at all the work that
> Parabola hackers for instance undergo in order to clean up a GNU/Linux
> distro that is allegedly easy to clean, and I tell myself "Hell, this is
> though". Have you considered building a community? Some organisation like
> the FSF might want to help you complete the crowdfunding, but then what?

I expect that it will be quite easy to maintain. One release will be
provided roughly every 6 months (to track OpenBSD's release schedule).

Compared to maintaining Parabola, maintaining LibertyBSD should be easy.
OpenBSD policy forbids non-free software from going into the base
system. (Microcode is an exception to this, since OpenBSD developers do
not see it as software.) I just need to keep the diffs between OpenBSD
and LibertyBSD and slightly modify them for each new version.

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