RMS Talk From LibrePlanet

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jxself
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I found part of RMS's speech on a flash drive in my backpack. It's not a complete recording but most of it. It's licensed as CC BY-ND: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/

http://files.jxself.org/rms1.ogv
http://files.jxself.org/rms2.ogv

What he says at the start of the second file about building our own really resonates with me.

riddled

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Joined: 04/30/2013

Good talk. Thanks for sharing. I was taken back by the reverse engineering thing. I wonder where I could start learning that.

Michał Masłowski

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Joined: 05/15/2010

Reverse engineering is a very wide area, documentation might be more
specific. Samba (network protocol RE), Replicant (replacing userspace
libraries communicating with e.g. modem firmware), Coreboot (device
initialization) and vendor-unsupported free GPU driver projects document
parts of what they do. There are many articles about Broadcom network
firmware or unlocking phone bootloaders: they present RE that might be
useful despite not leading to free drivers. It usually depends on
nonfree decompilers (there are free replacements for some instruction
sets), Replicant developers don't disassemble the nonfree binaries, they
trace their communication with the kernel.

Some firmware uses known and popular instruction sets: popular Broadcom
and Marvell wifi chips used in phones have ARM binaries; Atheros uses at
least three standard ISAs for their wifi firmware. Others use
proprietary ISAs, like the Radeon firmware.

Reading the ARM manuals should probably help; https://reblog.0x04.net/
is all that I've seen about a process of unknown ISA reverse
engineering.

(I have no experience in such RE.)

krofna
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Joined: 04/08/2013

Reverse engineering can mean two things:

- Debugging a program without symbols or source:
For example if someone creates a proprietary program for data compression and you want to find algorithm which was used in the program, you can use objdump (from binutils) to get disassembly[1] and if you know x86 assembly[2] you can analyze it and find algorithm. Additionally, you run the program in gdb to inspect programs state at any point of its execution.

- Staring at hexdumps
Examples include:
a) reverse engineering a protocol like skype: Run skype and wireshark. Capture packets and analyze them. Apply 1) as well
b) file format like swf: Create bunch of swf files. Compare what you see with whats in the file. Apply 1) as well
c) firmware: This can be very tricky. Objdump won't work since target device has architecture[3] you know nothing about because there is no publicly avaliable documentation. Except from luck, kexec[4] is your friend.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disassembler
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_assembly
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_CPU_architectures
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kexec

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

Thank you for sharing! It's an excellent talk.
I really agree with the idea of building an own computer we can use in freedom; not having a simple choice of a notebook is a big problem.

And I'm curious how his idea of the parabolic antenna will work. Telling people not to use any cellphones is the only acceptable solution at the moment, but it's not a good one.

Chris

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I support this effort although I think people don't realize how gigantic a task that would actually be. Particularly to build one that was even remotely desirable for a fraction of the GNU/Linux using population.

Google has had problems doing just a fraction of what they have wanted to do due to a non-free BIOS. Now take that and design a machine from scratch.

Ultimately it's going to take the cooperation of many entities for anything to get done. What can't happen is that we end up with a dependence on x86.

That said I do think we need to do this. Before it is going to happen though you need to focus on merging the resources, merging demand.

You have to get the entire GNU/Linux using population focused on buying a handful of systems from companies with an interest in doing it. You also need the developers to port a free distribution, etc. Short of this nobody is going to have the demand needed to do it. We would need Trisquel at a minimal ported.

gNewSense is the closest thing to running on a non-x86 that is FSF certified.

aloniv

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Parabola also runs on MIPS.

t3g
t3g
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Joined: 05/15/2011

So does Debian 7.0: http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/7.0.0/mips/

Yeah yeah, there's a non-free repo but its not that hard to avoid in your sources.list.

Dave_Hunt

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Joined: 09/19/2011

I agree-- one can liberate her Debian by removing references to the
non-free repos, in case commenting the lines out isn't enough.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

Yes, but the FSF can't endorse optionally free systems:
http://www.gnu.org/distros/optionally-free-not-enough.html

...and it would be nice, as part of this process, to get the first FSF-endorsed computer, so that's an important thing to consider:

https://www.fsf.org/news/endorsement-criteria
http://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/criteria

Chris

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Yea- forgot about that. Trisquel would be far more realistic though as something usable by the most people.

lembas
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Regarding the privacy issue with phones, the solution might be the same as with the "tivoization" of computers, we might need to build our own. And not just phones but the network.

https://thefnf.org/about/

Chris

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That would be interesting. I don't know if that is realistic given the cost of spectrum licensing and the low demand (I'm presuming). You would probably need significantly more than the 5-10% of the public to get on board for it to succeed. I doubt even with all the GNU/Linux users out there on board it would be a successful endeavour. The other issue is the technology is restricted by law it would appear. You would have to get the law changed or maybe build it such that its got a ROM instead of flash for the modem firmware. Not sure if that is even feasible.

trisq

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Joined: 09/03/2013

Excellent video. Wish I would have seen this earlier. On the other hand, what a confirmation of what I was thinking anyway on creating a 100% free hardware computer. Wow. Thanks for posting it. Made my day.

levlaz

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Hey Jason, thanks for posting these videos, they were great!

lembas
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Fernando_Negro
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Thank you, "jxself" and "lembas", for the links.

It's an interesting series of lectures.

(Ruben's lecture can't be loaded from Trisquel, so I'm now downloading it from "Ubuntu One"... haha :D)

But, to all:

Is there any publication (besides the official announcements/press releases made on the web pages of the several related organizations) where one can have /specifically/ "totally-free" Free Software news? (And, maybe, also "Free Hardware" ones?) Or anything that is close to that?

(Besides this forum, that is...)

I, some times, check out "slashdot.org" - but it's too generic to catch up my interest, most of the times...

And, also...

Is there a way to know where will RMS's next lectures be?

And, is there any web page that keeps a specific track (videos and such) of such lectures?

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

"Is there a way to know where will RMS's next lectures be?"

http://www.fsf.org/events/rms-speeches.html

lembas
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Joined: 05/13/2010

And when you go to see RMS, hand him some money. I did that and it felt great, the best 100 euros I ever spent.

Fernando_Negro
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Joined: 06/17/2012

I also donate big, when I think the cause is really worth it. :)

But, you left me curious...

Does he usually ask for donations?

And, if so, does the money go to pay for his expenses, or does it go to the FSF?

(I always had the impression that the travelling, accommodation and other expenses, in our "rich" Western countries (I'm not sure if that's your case, also), are usually paid by whatever is the organization that invites him, and that the GNU auctions, at the end, are just some extra money for the FSF...)

lembas
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He didn't ask for a donation, don't remember seeing him doing that on the videos either. When I gave him the bill he asked if it was for a FSF membership. I said it was his to use as he sees fit.

Fernando_Negro
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Joined: 06/17/2012

Thank you very much, quantumgravity. :)

It's exactly what I was looking for...

starchild
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Joined: 09/14/2011
Fernando_Negro
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Joined: 06/17/2012

Thank you very much, starchild. :)

They are exactly the kind of publications that I'm more interested in reading...

Magic Banana

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The free software channel of reddit can be of interest.

If you want to specifically follow the GNU project, there is Planet GNU and, again, reddit.

Fernando_Negro
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Joined: 06/17/2012

Thank you very much for your links also, Magic Banana. :)

I'll then take a look at "reddit", and see what's this new Internet phenomenon that everyone is talking about.