[Dev] Fwd: Re: [Libreboot] Operating System for Asus C201

nicolasmaia at tutanota.com nicolasmaia at tutanota.com
Wed Apr 20 15:56:42 BST 2016


FYI

Nicolas Maia
--
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Data: 20. Abr 2016 10:34
De: contact at paulk.fr
Para: daniel.tarrero at bluebrain.es, libreboot at nongnu.org
Assunto: Re: [Libreboot] Operating System for Asus C201


> Hey there, I'll respond to the various concerns and questions raised in 
> this
> thread, in no particular order. First off, I'm glad to see such interest 
> for the
> C201 Libreboot port!
>
> At this point, there are no distributions following the GNU Free System
> Distribution Guidelines (GNU FSDG) that support the C201 out of the box. 
> The
> first problem is that it's an ARM machine, and most GNU FSDG-compliant
> distributions don't support ARM. Only Parabola has ARM support at this 
> point.
> Some work would be needed to write up instructions regarding how to install
> Parabola on the C201. This is something I have been meaning to do, but 
> couldn't
> find the time to do it yet. However, writing instructions is not all that 
> is
> required. The device needs a kernel with specific drives for its hardware, 
> that
> are not integrated into Linus Torvald's version of Linux, the upstream 
> Linux
> kernel.
>
> Instead, CrOS systems use a downstream version of Linux, with changes for
> hardware support. The source code for it is available as part of the 
> ChromiumOS
> project and it can be rebuilt from source. Until the upstream kernel is 
> ready,
> this downstream kernel is the best candidate to get a working free system 
> on the
> device.
>
> One might be concerned about what comes with it, since it is a modified 
> version
> of the upstream kernel. I am not aware of any addition that would conflict 
> with
> users' privacy and security, but I have not checked extensively. Note that 
> the
> firmwares for Wi-Fi are not part of the kernel, but are out of the tree, as 
> far
> as I recall. Thus, this kernel could be deblobbed and packaged in Parabola, 
> to
> make the installation easier.
>
> Note that the kernel must be wrapped in a particular image format for the
> Depthcharge payload. This is to allow signature verification, a crucial 
> security
> feature. I do not intend to support anything else than Depthcharge in 
> Libreboot
> at this point. Actually, I think it is quite elegant and gets the job done
> nicely.
>
> Regarding my own setup, I have been using the device with Fedora since 
> Debian
> doesn't ship with llvmpipe (required for decent CPU-based graphics
> acceleration). Either way, once the kernel is ready, any GNU/Linux system 
> that
> has ARM support can be used on the device, with little adaptation needed in
> userspace. I will write up instructions for these systems too, probably on 
> my
> personal blog.
>
> I am not using the internal Wi-Fi chip, that requires a proprietary 
> firmware,
> but use an ath9k_htc USB dongle instead. I enabled that module when 
> building the
> kernel and it works normally.
>
> Aside from documenting the installation of GNU FSDG-approved systems and 
> others
> and improving the state of the Libreboot port (especially regarding the 
> support
> of security features), I'd also like to contribute to C201 support to the
> upstream Linux kernel. Alas, Libreboot is not the only project I'm 
> contributing
> to, far from it, and all of that takes time, especially when it all happens 
> on
> spare time.
>
> Cheers!
> --
> Paul Kocialkowski, low-level free software developer on embedded devices
>
> Website: > https://www.paulk.fr
> Coding blog: > https://code.paulk.fr
> Git repositories: > https://git.paulk.fr>  > https://git.code.paulk.fr
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