Question regarding hardware,

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Psion
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Joined: 12/29/2023

I know that the mnt reform computers, including pocket mnt reform has some non-free hardware used by specific computers.

My question is, of these processors listed at the bottom of this link:

https://mntre.com/modularity.html

Which can be used without software blobs.

I am aware of only one that is trustworthy as far as I know. the LS1028A.

not counting the risc-v one which is developmental primarily.

I am just curious of the ARM ones though.

Any answers? I wondered if linux-libre would work on any of those.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

You may notice that they all have blobs. Where do you like your blobs best? In the memory controller, within the WiFi, the graphics, the boot process, or maybe distributed a bit throughout?

Avron

I am a translator!

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Joined: 08/18/2020

You may notice that they all have blobs.

The page says that the Kintex-7 FPGA module runs blob-free. However, it is rather expensive and the description seems not to present it as a module to have a laptop for daily usage, more something for experimenting.

Besides, the LS1028A seems to work blob-free if you use the HDMI output only (not the internal display). I previously asked MNT about the "rack reform" which could have used this, but it seems there is no progress and this module is not even for sale anymore. Sad.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

"The page says that the Kintex-7 FPGA module runs blob-free."

That one's the blobbiest of all - It's ignoring the FPGA software toolchain, which is nonfree.

Psion
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Joined: 12/29/2023

Can you clarify for me more clearly, I just want to be clear, you are saying that it isn't just the wifi that requires non-free software blobs to use.

Correct?

Psion
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Joined: 12/29/2023

I was asking if it can be used with only free software. Meaning, I wouldn't use the wifi/bluetooth.

As for the rest, are you sure its that bad?

Essentially, are you saying, that at least four out of the six can't be run without non-free software?

That's what I was inquiring.

Wifi aside, because I wouldn't use that trash. ;)

And bluetooth...

is well...

always crap imo.

Jonathan Matt Gresham
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Joined: 07/24/2023

I have a wireless USB adapter for Wifi that is
supported by free software. It can run on Trisquel GNU/Linux;
but, it can also be used with netBSD and openBSD; however
netBSD and OpenBSD provide an the possibility to install
the Guix package manager because the OS is not GNU/Linux.
Therefore, if you want Wifi then there are obviously
software to support the hardware. Nonetheless, the software
may not be distributed freely by a community that is focused on
"open-source" philosophy. You may get the "athn" driver for netBSD
or OpenBSD operating system, but you may not get the source code.
Software distributed by the free software community is better than
software distributed by the Open-Source community because in free
software one cares about freedom and community; but also right and wrong.
https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/penguin-wireless-n-usb-adapter-gnu-linux-tpe-n150usb
https://tehnoetic.com/adapters/tehnoetic-wireless-adapter-gnu-linux-libre-tet-n150

Jonathan Matt Gresham
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Joined: 07/24/2023

I have a wireless USB adapter for Wifi that is
supported by free software. It can run on Trisquel GNU/Linux;
but, it can also be used with netBSD and openBSD; however
netBSD and OpenBSD do not provide the possibility to install
the Guix package manager because the OS is not GNU/Linux.
Therefore, if you want Wifi then there are obviously
software to support the hardware. Nonetheless, the software
may not be distributed freely by a community that is focused on
"open-source" philosophy. You may get the "athn" driver for netBSD
or OpenBSD operating system, but you may not get the source code.
Software distributed by the free software community is better than
software distributed by the Open-Source community because in free
software one cares about freedom and community; but also right and wrong.
https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/penguin-wireless-n-usb-adapter-gnu-linux-tpe-n150usb
https://tehnoetic.com/adapters/tehnoetic-wireless-adapter-gnu-linux-libre-tet-n150

Psion
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Joined: 12/29/2023

Weird, you double posted... is that issue back in the forums again? ;)

Psion
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Joined: 12/29/2023

Can someone just give it to me straight and simple?

Thanks...

Minus the wifi, could trisquel be used on the pocket mnt reform?

I get the wifi wouldn't work, but I just wondered about everything else without software blobs.

PublicLewdness
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Joined: 03/15/2020

"Can someone just give it to me straight and simple?

Thanks...

Minus the wifi, could trisquel be used on the pocket mnt reform?

I get the wifi wouldn't work, but I just wondered about everything else without software blobs."

Most likely it would work. If things like closed source blobs for the memory controller prevented Trisquel from working on a device then I doubt any device would work at all on it. I'd say your bigger task will be getting Trisquel installed as the process for Arm is not as straight forward as it is for x86.

Also it seems there are now quite a few options for the MNT, a couple of which are more free than others. The two on the right side of this table for instance:

https://mntre.com/modularity.html#our-cpu-modules

Psion
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Joined: 12/29/2023

LS1028A is the freest option from what I can see.

I hope an option like that appears for the pocket mnt reform.

Anywho though, thanks for letting me know.

But to answer whether you asked or not, yeah I would most likely use a dongle, I got a bunch of them. :)

A few big ones, a few small ones and a few express card ones for thinkpads which obviously couldn't work on this.

;)

I would probably be more likely putting parabola or devuan on. Not sure at the moment which. Had pondered OpenBSD, but not sure.

IF I did use OpenBSD I would definitely remove that wifi blob its using. :D

megurineturilli
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Joined: 01/10/2012

I prefer to wait until an OpenPOWER SoC with built-in GPU gets designed. For the FPGA I stay with ECP5 and ICE40.

Psion
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Joined: 12/29/2023

So like microwatt or for example, libre-soc?

I don't blame ya.

In other news, besides the DDR4C having non-free firmware, RK3588 might be compatible with pocket mnt reform and it has no soldered wifi card or bluetooth.

Looks like a plus to me.

Risc-V, Microwatt and Libre-Soc will come sooner or later for that device anyhow.

Psion
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Joined: 12/29/2023

I found out something interesting recently about rk3588, so I am bumping this thread. It is a processor that is usable on mnt reform and possibly will be one for pocket mnt reform.

https://www.hackster.io/news/tomeu-vizoso-s-open-source-npu-driver-project-does-away-with-the-rockchip-rk3588-s-binary-blob-0153cf723d44

Seems RK3588 will soon be usable with only libre software if it isn't already. I don't know if there are any weird mechanisms in it, but that to me is good news.

Also, it will be libre hardware like some older arm stuff.

Avron

I am a translator!

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Joined: 08/18/2020

Thanks, interesting indeed. It mentions "driver for the NPU". About the mnt reform, the web page says "Binary DDR and GPU firmware". Is that "GPU firmware" the same thing? If so, this is nice, although the binary DDR firmware remains.