Do your thoughts on MNT Reform remain the same?

23 réponses [Dernière contribution]
SkedarKing
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 11/01/2021

An interesting update here too:

https://www.crowdsupply.com/mnt/reform/updates/post-campaign-orders

I hear that RISC-V and LS1028A processor, that needs no functional blob to run will be available in 2022

Supposedly the only reason he is not seeking, GNU RYF, is because he thinks that no hardware is fully free and everything requires some form of a blob, functional or nonfunctional.

It is kind of idealistic I must admit, so I do agree on that, but yeah, I am curious what your thoughts are on this.

Also, libreboot or thinkpad laptops are even less libre according to Leah from libreboot.

In my opinion freedom requires privacy which requires security.

I do not own one yet, though due to them planning to do something even better!

https://pocket-reform.ghost.io/prototype/

PublicLewdness
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 03/15/2020

How are the Libreboot laptops less free ? As for RYF as far as I understand is that the cert requires no blobs to be required from the kernel, which gives wiggle room to have blobs that don't use the kernel. Idealism isn't always a bad thing. If it wasn't for people like RMS then freedom as we know it would be full of more closed source code then we already have and we would be worse off. The tree that doesn't bend will break but bend too far and you're already broken. Compromise isn't the worst thing depending on the circumstances but for many people running closed source software with closed source drivers; a closed source BIOS; closed source firmware is fine and dandy so long as it's on a Linux OS.

I am really interested in a RISC-V laptop if they can get that blob free. As for the MNT Reform the price is an issue for me. If it was blob free I would pay it gladly but if I have to accept blobs then I would settle for a Pinebook Pro at a fraction of the price or go for a LibreBoot laptop and have elss blobs.

SkedarKing
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 11/01/2021

https://libreboot.org/faq.html#does-libreboot-make-my-machine-100-free

Yes, idealism is in fact good depending on how far you take it in some places, and how far in others.

Basically, the above link shows what I meant.

I am not talking about software, I speak of hardware freedom more.

My point was about hardware, I apologize if I didn't make that clear.

My point being, RMS is a wise person in many regards, in some though, I would say, he doesn't go far enough in, others, I feel like he wastes time in.

Other ideas RMS has like Replicant, seem DOA to me.

Free hardware is extremely, important. Free software, is also important, but without the first, I fear we will be stuck with extremely old hardware that will have massive security bugs that are unfixable.

If the price is an issue, no worries. I understand this, also, I recommend waiting for a faster processor anyways.

but as for the blob issue, the LS1028A supposedly the devs of MNT Reform, say that there is no huge issue for that.

Imx8m is a different story, Leah told me its kind of like a neutered intel me type situation. Where no functional backdoors exist.

My final point I will make for now, backdoors are the biggest issue of any non-free hardware for me, and of course tyrant operating systems too.

If those two DRMS are dead, the rest is usually easier.

https://libreboot.org/faq.html#does-libreboot-make-my-machine-100-free

Posting the above link twice so people will see the link for sure.

Edit, I keep forgetting Arm has no bios but something different instead.

Avron
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 08/18/2020

> Other ideas RMS has like Replicant, seem DOA to me.

I have no clue what "DOA" means but that sounds negative in this context. Can you explain your concern?

>Free hardware is extremely, important. Free software, is also important, but without the first, I fear we will be stuck with extremely old hardware that will have massive security bugs that are unfixable.

Does the CPU of the MNT Reform come with a free hardware design? I thought no.

On the "old hardware", I don't know how powerful the chips in the MNT reform are, as compared with the X200 for instance. Whith the X200, being in a Jitsi call takes a huge part of the CPU power and sometimes it stops working. I tried with abrowser and with ungoogled chromium (slightly better). Would it be better with the MNT reform? Or could I improve how it works with the X200 by using a more minimal system, like a light Parabola install?

Then, I haven't tried Jitsi with my Olinuxino Lime2 as it is not in a usable state now, but I will. That said, this is even far less powerful.

SkedarKing
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 11/01/2021

MNT Reform as far as I know, is the freest hardware design out there right now.

The cpu is not a free hardware design, you are correct about that.

As for what DOA means, that means dead on arrival.

I say this because, the purpose of a cell phone, is for being able to use their satellite services to call or text, web surf, etc... from most places. And that to me I don't think will ever be doable with free software. Thus it seems like a waste of time.

The X200 is probably just as fast as the MNT Reform, well, once it gets the LS1028A processor as an option. Till then, probably 2-3 times faster. That is the reason I said I would wait for now given it will be slower and less freedom like.

Parabola is not a bad option, but ultimately the reason I think less of libreboot devices, is they are twice as slow as my X230 and my T430 its like 5 times slower than.
Btw, Both of those devices in my possession have some form of coreboot and intel me is disabled.

Thanks for the replies btw, I appreciate it.

Avron
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 08/18/2020

>I say this because, the purpose of a cell phone, is for being able to use their satellite services to call or text, web surf, etc... from most places. And that to me I don't think will ever be doable with free software. Thus it seems like a waste of time.

I don't see it as a waste of time to work on having the CPU running entirely free software just because there is an isolated modem running non-free software. Running free software on the CPU already provides extremely good control over the device and can improve privacy greatly.

With a similar reasoning, one could say that there is no point in working on distros with free software only for computers because anyway, without disk storage you can't do anything useful and all the SSD/HDD controller run a lot of non-free software and there is no hope to change that at any time in the future.

>I think less of libreboot devices, is they are twice as slow as my X230 and my T430 its like 5 times slower than.

For laptops yes, but the desktop options are much better. That said, I agree that we are lacking options that are still in production.

SkedarKing
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 11/01/2021

I should add, the other reason I think little of replicant is, they are constantly way behind schedule, google knows unfortunately how to get in the way as much as possible.

6.0 is their latest version so far... and Android is on version 12 it appears...

Trisquel is more profitable as an idea then Replicant for example. Not that I think Trisquel is the best distro out there, I think it does a few things right, but I think debian would've been a way better base for Trisquel, especially now that they are being willing to be more reasonable with init freedom.

Everyone has their own tastes though.

As for the SSD/HDD controllers and other such things, I would assume they don't dial anywhere, so its not really a problem.

Non-free software is usually only a problem if it does shady DRM like crap.

Without DRM, non-free software is mostly harmless. Reverse engineering is much easier without DRM.

Small note to add, freedom is still important and insecurity bugs can still exist, but yeah I standby this most of the time, for hardware anyways. Software on the other hand is a place where there is much, much less excuse for this bull to be blobbed.

Long story short, I have some hope, this has kind of gone off topic though.

I await to see how MNT Reform does in the future though. ;)

I bet it will be awesome for computing. Especially if you want something lightweight. :)

Avron
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 08/18/2020

>As for the SSD/HDD controllers and other such things, I would assume they don't dial anywhere, so its not really a problem.

If the SSD/HDD controller has access to the CPU memory, it could patch any programme stored on your disk to fetch and run instructions from a remote server. From there, I suppose anything is possible, like transferring private/secret information to a remote computer or spying on you if any microphone is connected, much like a mobile phone could do.

lanun
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 04/01/2021

> the only reason he is not seeking, GNU RYF, is because he thinks that no hardware is fully free and everything requires some form of a blob, functional or nonfunctional.

The last remaining blob was supposed to be this:

"Unfortunately, during the boot process, i.MX8M requires a closed-source firmware for an embedded ARCompact processor in the Synopsys DDR4 PHY. This firmware, which is only a few kilobytes in size, is responsible for regulating the physical connection to the DDR chips in the face of changing temperatures. We are in contact with reverse engineers with the goal of analyzing what the capabilities of this so called PHY Utility Block (PUB) are, and to find out if we have a chance to replace this firmware at some point in the future."
https://www.crowdsupply.com/mnt/reform/updates/re-introducing-reform (May 24, 2019)

It was apparently still there a year on, and not considered a problem: "The initial CPU of Reform, NXP i.MX8M, uses a proprietary (non-ARM) routine to calibrate the LPDDR4 memory at boot, and you have to tolerate a similar piece of code to use the optional HDMI output."
https://www.crowdsupply.com/mnt/reform/updates/the-campaign-is-live (May 07, 2020)

That sounds like a pretty good reason not to apply for RYF certification, although I doubt it has even been a goal here.

jxself
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 09/13/2010

Yes, the initial minimization of the problem and later dismissal of it causes me great concern.

Given that the blob situation in the MNT Reform not only remains unchanged but appears that it will not be changing, given that the priority seems to have been degraded down into it not being a problem I think my overall position remains unchanged:
https://trisquel.info/en/forum/imx8m-comments#comment-141453

SkedarKing
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 11/01/2021

Hmm, does that include if it were to get a different less blobbed processor? would LS1028A change your mind?

He plans to add that in the future for 2022 or later.

Supposedly, 8-16 GB of ram seems to be an option for that also.

If that's a concern, don't buy it with that processor.

But I would at least look at the future versions and see if they are any good.

Obviously wait till someone confirms its libre enough for you though.

Just to be clear though, Leah seemed to tell me that imx8m didn't have any remote issues or backdoors as you would call them that connect to the internet. This might be why he probably minimized the issue of said blob because it didn't seem like a threat.

Kind of like a corebooted intel me disabled T430 or X230.

Thoughts on what I just said? Just clarifying but yeah, you did say we should get off the titanic that is x86.

This appears to be the most reliable secure privacy friendly way to do that. As long as you don't use imx8m, it can also be the most freedom friendly way too.

jxself
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 09/13/2010

"would LS1028A change your mind?"

FYI that their work was done using proprietary software (Altium Designer on Windows.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altium_Designer

Note their "We would like to convert the design to the open source EDA suite KiCAD..." Why not start with that rather than going full-proprietary from the start? This does not seem to bode well in terms of their freedom priorities.

My perception seems to be that their priorities are: Come up with something first, add freedom second; maybe later.

So at the moment, no it does not change my mind. In my view proprietary software results in an automatic disqualification but I am keeping an eye on it to see how things go.

SkedarKing
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 11/01/2021

Yes, the hdmi blob would be bad, but who in their right mind would enable that pile of crap? :)

Read my other message though, regarding why I think he isn't concerned about that non-arm blob.

SkedarKing
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 11/01/2021

Curious Jxself, but do you use coreboot + intel me disabled devices? I have a T430 and an X230 like that. both ivy bridge

They are supposedly similar in the risks as imx8m regarding the fact that the blobs left in it, don't pose a risk.

I asked Leah about it

Basically, is it about freedom, or concern or both that makes you suspicious of MNT Reform, and do you feel the same way about corebooted intel me disabled laptops.

I just am trying to understand you really. You are free to think what you want, I am curious is all.

Either way, LS1028A might be better? Idk...

Just reply if you are willing to give me an answer regarding this post.

jahoti
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 07/31/2021

Obviously I'm not jxself, and don't claim to speak for him, yet I'm almost certain freedom is his primary concern (his writings are at https://jxself.org/). As for hardware, he uses Librebooted (https://libreboot.org/ just in case you hadn't heard of it) KGPE-16(s) for servers- about personal computers I'm not sure.

As a matter of interest, to understand the "purist" approach to freedom (for want of a better word) it might help to read Jason's article on his coming to free software (https://jxself.org/how-i-learned.shtml) and about Stallman's Xerox printer incident (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerox_9700#Historic_importance). The underlying motivator, at least for some people, is the frustration of being rendered helplessly dependent on others to solve fixable issues.

(I don't personally know enough to have much opinion on the MNT Reform; it does seem like a good project, however.)

andyprough
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 02/12/2015

SkedarKing is extremely familiar with libre philosophy - he's one of the leading voices of the Hyperbola GNU/Linux community.

According to his way of thought, us Trisquel users are not nearly purist enough. Hyperbola is getting rid of all proprietary blobs, all systemd and dbus and polkit and pulseaudio and other big-tech-corporatist bloatware, and ultimately are creating their own kernel and own core utilities with the nascent HyperbolaBSD project.

SkedarKing
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 11/01/2021

Yes, but Trisquel isn't the only one who does this, although I did wonder why they can't do something like linux mint does minus the bloatware and non-free crap for debian builds.
Aka, base Trisquel on debian and make changes to make it user friendly.
That aside, I like the idea of having a minimal system with regard to core applications. Bloat is okay if its optional, but it cannot be the core system in my opinion.
Obviously it is their choice what they do, but it is better to move towards the most lightweight, secure and easy to fix code that is libre. That's my view anyways, Trisquel isn't the only one who fails this, Devuan, Debian, Arch, Fedora and rpm based distros, just don't do this. Arch claims K.I.S.S logic, but they do certain things which don't follow that logic. Long story short, Gnu/Linux could be a sinking ship for reasons like this and others.

I very much hope not, because that might make people think open source and even more so, libre software has no meaning and is pointless to develop.

As for being a leading voice of Hyperbola, I am not by any means perfect in any regard, including software. I do indulge in some crapware on some software that isn't libre, just nothing that has remote tentacles on my laptops. If you want to keep stuff secret for any reason, do not use anything but OpenBSD or some secure form of Gnu/Linux-Libre.
And do not put proprietary crap directly onto your laptop.

Emulation is my exception, including dosbox-x.

Long story short, I do treasure Hyperbola because its libre but its also, because their idea of libre is about privacy/security almost as much as freedom. I don't think that's how most distros do it. Ease of use is usually number 1 or number 2 or freedom and then ease of use, but my point is, security and privacy, are much lower in my opinion.

I would love to be proven wrong, but I don't think that's likely at this time.

Software patents however regardless of what anyone says, are pure evil. Actually, anything with electronics shouldn't be allowed to have a patent on it with any license that isn't open source meaning optionally fully free or 100% libre.

I think most people have seen the cause of what happens because of that, it least in the libre software community.

Avron
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 08/18/2020

>Ease of use is usually number 1 or number 2 or freedom and then ease of use, but my point is, security and privacy, are much lower in my opinion.

I understand that distros following the FSDG put freedom first and, in the case of Trisquel, ease of use second.

With respect to security and privacy, I feel that I am missing precise enough advice on how to use properly the tools I have. For instance, I found plenty of useful information on usage of PGP/GPG for emails, but nothing equivalent about instant messaging.

In any case, for things that I feel too sensitive, I will never use a computer.

jahoti
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 07/31/2021

Ah, thank you for letting me know! I've been meaning to take a more detailed look at the Hyperbola community- hopefully in a couple of weeks there'll be more time to start doing that.

SkedarKing
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 11/01/2021

I see, so you think he has the same views towards corebooted devices even if they have intel me disabled...

And by that logic, you think its completely 100% freedom issue.

That's fair, I had wondered if that's the case.

jxself
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 09/13/2010

"As for hardware, he uses Librebooted (https://libreboot.org/ just in case you hadn't heard of it) KGPE-16(s) for servers- about personal computers I'm not sure."

I actually have several KGPE-D16. I use them for my day-to-day computing - I'm writing this message using one. Some of them have been dedicated to a compile farm that I have for my Linux-libre kernel compiling efforts since each week usually sees me building 109 kernels.

But for my server? No. It doesn't need that much power. That's a much lower power Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L. And yes, my machines all have libreboot.

jahoti
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 07/31/2021

That makes more sense- I couldn't understand what the point of such beefy hardware was in the first place! Thank you for clarifying, and for footing the astronomical demands of compiling 109 kernels so the rest of us don't have to :).

jxself
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 09/13/2010

"Curious Jxself, but do you use coreboot + intel me disabled devices?"
No I do not. In my view they are not sufficiently free.

SkedarKing
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 11/01/2021

Alright so I was right, that was the reason.

Well, that is a consistent reason, so, good for you.

Not being sarcastic btw, I was very curious.

As for this "Note their "We would like to convert the design to the open source EDA suite KiCAD..." Why not start with that rather than going full-proprietary from the start? This does not seem to bode well in terms of their freedom priorities.

My perception seems to be that their priorities are: Come up with something first, add freedom second; maybe later.

So at the moment, no it does not change my mind. In my view proprietary software results in an automatic disqualification but I am keeping an eye on it to see how things go."

I do note their hardware has a hell of a lot of hardware made with a libre license. aka, the laptop casing itself for example and most of the hardware parts within it, of course the arm processor, is probably one of the deal breaking exceptions for you... but do what you want. This is only my thoughts on it.

But yeah, its good your keeping an eye on it, regardless of your current opinion, anyways I think it matters more if the hardware itself is libre, not how it is made. Although I think you know this, but I am of the opinion, as long as there is no DRM enabled, its all good to use.

On an unrelated note, I wonder though about balthazar.space.

I mentioned it a long time ago here, I wondered how close they were to building it and it seems they still working on it:

https://balthazar.space/wiki/News

I will watch both and reevaluate from each which is best.

If I order from mnt reform devs instead of the other one, I will wait for pocket version with LS1028A probably.

Thank you for responding to me though, I see your still like you were when I left the forums a while back...
You will go very far in the free software world I am sure.
If you haven't already.