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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] PureOS added to endorsed distro list - what about

From: Luke Shumaker
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] PureOS added to endorsed distro list - what about the kernel?
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:04:23 -0500
User-agent: Wanderlust/2.15.9 (Almost Unreal) SEMI-EPG/1.14.7 (Harue) FLIM/1.14.9 (Goj┼Ź) APEL/10.8 EasyPG/1.0.0 Emacs/25.3 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu) MULE/6.0 (HANACHIRUSATO)

On Mon, 22 Jan 2018 10:05:08 -0500,
Felipe Sanches wrote:
> Regarding devices that rely on non-free fw but that could also work
> "without firmware"... I think that most likely does not exist.

An example: Many Radeon graphics cards work without firmware, but have
no 2D or 3D acceleration.  The simple legacy (VGA?) ways for talking
to it are implemented in hardware and work without firmware, but the
more complex modern ways that are required for decent performance
don't.  It's fine for, say running Emacs and basic web-browsing, but
VLC won't do better than 5 FPS while fullscreen.

> There are devices that have the fw loaded into RAM and thus require
> an install at every power up otherwise they will simply not work.
> But there are also devices that have factory installed firmware
> stored in permanent ROM memory and then provide a firmware update
> mechanism that can be used to install newer versions of the fw (with
> bugfixes perhaps, but could also include new anti-features and
> likely new bugs as well). In this case, you can use the old in-ROM
> firmware or the new firmware provided by the kernel.
> Having said that, I have the impression that some people actually
> refer to running the in-ROM factory fw whey they say the device may
> run "without a firmware", which is surely a misleading way of
> expressing what actually happens.

I believe that this is the situation with microcode updates.

Happy hacking,
~ Luke Shumaker

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