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zMeul

AMD open source friendly? Libreboot doesn't think so

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Posted · Original PosterOP

source: https://libreboot.org/amd-libre/

 

145px-Libreboot_logo.svg.png

 

let's start with the beginning: what is LibreBoot?

Libreboot is a free BIOS or UEFI replacement; libre boot firmware initializes the hardware and starts a bootloader for the OS

 

the point of contention?

since about 2013 AMD has made some drastic changes to their CPU hardware and LibreBoot requested documentation and release of the source code - AMD refused

they tried again with Ryzen release, AMD hasn't changed their plans to do so

Quote

We in the Libreboot project call on AMD to release source code and start cooperating with our upstream, coreboot (and librecore) for its new Ryzen platform and existing Zen platforms. This includes source code for all initialization firmware (typically referred to as the BIOS or UEFI firmware, by some members of the community), and in particular, the AMD Platform Security Processor, to allow the free/libre software community to use AMD hardware that is entirely freedom-respecting. If it's not too much to ask, we also would like source code and signing keys, including for the PSP and microcode for the CPU.

 

We would also like to have board design guides, datasheets and footprints for CPUs/southbridges and so on.

 

We especially need the signing keys to be released, for those components which are signed (PSP, CPU microcode, SMU, etc). This will make utilising any released source code possible (at present, some components will not run unless the firmware is signed by a certain signature, usually under lock and key by the hardware manufacturer).

 

We in the community need freedom-respecting hardware! We call on AMD to work with us in the Libreboot, Coreboot and Librecore projects on bringing about a world where computing technology is no longer under lock and key from the manufacturer, and instead in the control and ownership of users.

 

This has several benefits for AMD. There is currently a huge demand in the market for libre hardware. At present, the only companies providing it are ones like Ministry of Freedom where systems are sold with entirely free software, including the boot firmware and operating system, without any signed firmware for which no keys are available to the public.

 

The problem? These companies are selling much older systems that are made libre mostly through reverse engineering. At present, the systems sold by such companies are using older hardware designs from 5-10 years ago, which means that most people who wish to use all libre software cannot do so, due to practicality concerns. There are some people who will use these older systems, but that is not without a huge sacrifice to their convenience since they end up using older, obsolete hardware and certain tasks (especially serious software development) becomes impractical for a lot of people.

 

AMD has the power to reverse this trend, and there is a potential for a great amount of profit to be made. The free/libre and open source software communities would jump head over heels to support such a move. In other words, AMD can make money from investing in the libre software community.

 

There is even a precedent already set. AMD previously did release source code for all of their newer platforms, to the coreboot project, but then they stopped. We're calling for this to resume, and to expand further than before.

 

so, what happened back in 2013?

AMD introduced in their CPUs new hardware, Platform Security Processor (PSP) - it's an ARM core baked in directly into the CPU die and controls the main x86 core startup

why the existence of the PSP should scare the shit out of you:

  • has ring -2 or ring -3 access
  • hides its own program code
  • has it's own RAM access
  • has access to everything, and when I say everything, I mean everything
  • has known and documented vulnerabilities and exploits

a malicious entity can extract data directly without victim's knowledge; install malware without victim's knowledge

 

---

 

some people might recognize this and say "but Intel does the same thing" - yes, they do!

 

since about 2006 Intel added Management Engine into their chips - since about 965 Express Chipset (northbridge) and ICH8 I/O Controller (southbridge)

why the Management Engine should scare the shit out of you:

  • has it's own dedicated BUS to each device connected
  • ROM and RAM controllers
  • has it's own network access and MAC address
  • it uses it's own Real Time Operating System (RTOS) that is not developed by Intel, but Express Logic Inc.
  • has known and documented vulnerabilities and exploits
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AMD is at least considering it. They responded to a question on it on their AMA.

 

 

 


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2 minutes ago, Alaradia said:

Wait if neither companies do who supports libreboot?

Reverse engineering I suppose


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-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]

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-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]

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From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.

 

-OnePlus X - [7/10]

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-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]

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-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]

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-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]

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A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 hours ago, BingoFishy said:

AMD is at least considering it. They responded to a question on it on their AMA.

that's not "AMD considering it"

it's someone from AMD saying the inquiry brings good points; far fetched from considering it ... AMD has dismissed it since 2013, we're now in 2017

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Posted · Original PosterOP
25 minutes ago, Alaradia said:

Wait if neither companies do who supports libreboot?

at this point, practically no one - LibreBoot only works on very old x86 hardware

 

Intel does release some firmware blobs 

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amd being "open source" has always been on technologies intel already had so they could play as the under dogs they're just making their stuff open source because their behind not because they care about open source

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amd not being open source friendly? 

 

they released plenty of things in the past , only because they dont support this one thing does not mean they dont support the open source 

 

also its a company , try getting details on skylake and you get the same result 


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Oh no AMD is an evil company for not bending over at every request even though they are already very open source friendly. Intel and Nvidia are way better in this aspect. 

 

We need to bash AMD in hope they run out of business,  because the competition they brought has only resulted in higher prices and negligible gains. For example Intel had no choice but to release new CPUs with single digit perf improvement for the last few years. Without AMD around, something like the 6900K would be much more affordable by now. 


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Wouldnt doing this spill engineering secrets?


He who asks is stupid for 5 minutes. He who does not ask, remains stupid. -Chinese proverb. 

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So if intel and AMD don't allow it then who are these guys making programs for? Older AMD platforms?


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We in the Libreboot project call on AMD to release..:

 

source code for all initialization firmware,

the AMD Platform Security Processor,

signing keys, including for the PSP,

microcode for the CPU,

board design guides,

datasheets and footprints for CPUs/southbridges,

and so on.

 

They sure don't ask for much.

 

...bringing about a world where computing technology is no longer under lock and key from the manufacturer, and instead in the control and ownership of users.


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2 hours ago, zMeul said:

since about 2006 Intel added Management Engine into their chips - since about 965 Express Chipset (northbridge) and ICH8 I/O Controller (southbridge)

why the Management Engine should scare the shit out of you:

It's worth mentioning that this is not a thing on all Intel platforms. It is part of vPro which is mostly used for their mobile chips (and some desktop ones). Their more consumer oriented stuff like the 7700K does not have it (as far as we know).

 

39 minutes ago, Clanscorpia said:

Wouldnt doing this spill engineering secrets?

Not necessarily. They asked for quite a lot of things and some would spill secrets, but there are things they could release without any risk.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, LAwLz said:

It's worth mentioning that this is not a thing on all Intel platforms. It is part of vPro which is mostly used for their mobile chips (and some desktop ones). Their more consumer oriented stuff like the 7700K does not have it (as far as we know).

IME is part of every Intel chip since then, vPRO has it's own shit - Active Management Technology (AMT)

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2 hours ago, Alaradia said:

Wait if neither companies do who supports libreboot?

old as shit thinkpads, and custom written BIOS's to specific hardware configs, it's the same as what people do to remove the whitelists on laptop BIOS's so you can install what ever wireless cards you like.


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11 hours ago, Alaradia said:

amd being "open source" has always been on technologies intel already had so they could play as the under dogs they're just making their stuff open source because their behind not because they care about open source

thats actually a very interesting viewpoint to think about, probably expressed slightly too crudely, but not too far from the truth.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
11 hours ago, Space Reptile said:

amd not being open source friendly? 

 

they released plenty of things in the past , only because they dont support this one thing does not mean they dont support the open source 

 

also its a company , try getting details on skylake and you get the same result 

how about their AMDGPU-PRO driver?! people are quite pissed at AMD for not releasing the source code for the Vulkan driver

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Right, AMD has nothing to with open source, right, never anything from them. I've read about Libreboot before and I understand their view, but still. It's not odd nor they're the only or first.

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On 10/03/2017 at 11:38 AM, zMeul said:

 

  • has access to everything, and when I say everything, I mean everything
  • has known and documented vulnerabilities and exploits

a malicious entity can extract data directly without victim's knowledge; install malware without victim's knowledge

Care to share this information?


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On 3/10/2017 at 7:06 AM, SCHISCHKA said:

I'm calling it a CIA conspiracy to spy on my cat videos

Everyone has got their kink, I wont judge...


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