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Re: [Libreboot] Operating System for Asus C201

From: Daniel Tarrero
Subject: Re: [Libreboot] Operating System for Asus C201
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2016 16:57:16 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

Hi dude! i add some stuff in between your lines:

On Sun, Apr 17, 2016 at 02:23:18PM +0100, Mike wrote:
> Hi,
> I recently purchased an Asus C201 and have flashed libreboot to it. I would
> like to express my thanks to everyone involved in the libreboot development
> and in particular to Paul Kocialkowski, your work is very much appreciated.

\\o o// \\o \o/ < me too!

> I am now at the stage of installing an operating system on to the laptop and
> have a few questions that I would very much appreciate some help with before
> I begin:

... you have pass the most hard part!
> 1) There was talk approximately six months ago about porting some
> libre-linux distributions to this laptop.I have searched online about this
> but not found any updated information.Does anyone know if any progress has
> been made in this area please?

libre-linux? Debian and Triskel are cousins =) i explain myself:
i think you are worry about what comes inside, isnt it?

All is about including (or not, or when) pre-compiled binaries.

Triskel distribution refuses to include ANY software in binary that has not its 
sources published.
That's why the hardware support is somehow limited, because a lot of HW 
manufacturers doesnt offer instructions, sources, and just deliver a 
precompiled binary that you have to trust.

Debian also loves this approach, they dont like binaries, but they are a little 
less "purist".
In the case you use Debian and have, lets call it 'propietary hardware', you 
can add them to your Debian.

Have you read about Debian Main, Contrib and NON-Free repositories? time to do 
so :)
  - Main: GNU, like triskel
  - Contrib: Maybe no GNU, but sources available
  - Non-Free: binaries, almost all are firmwares and windows drivers

Regardless the distribution you choose (good choices i must agree :) you have 
to pay attention to what you install.
Both, with sources or not, all packages are .deb
Also sometimes you will find support for the same hardware, in "binary from 
vendor" and in "community developed sources/binaries".
Let's say for example, AWARD bios vs Libreboot, or the other very common 
"nvidia official drivers" vs "nouveau" community driven.

You can have a full "purist" Debian, or not. You can have 'by default purist' 
Triskel, and install a propietary closed binary somewhere...

So pay attention; good start.

In the other side, for example, Ubuntu, Suse or Red Hat include binaries from 
different vendors in default instalations, with less or no advise than more 
pure GNU distributions.
Their approach is "it must work", so they tend to include to avoid common users 

> 2) In the absence of any libre-linux distros I intend to install Debian and
> have been familiarising myself with the online guide for the C201.
> I understand that this involves copying/reusing the original chrome OS
> kernel that came with the device or compiling a chromium OS kernel from
> source.Is there any risk that either of these kernels contain any of
> Google’s privacy invading/tracking software?

Well, when someone distribute sources alongside the binaries, this open two 
good paths:
1. for you to compile your own binary (in case they put the glitch and remove 
from sources, you will be safe)
2. for you to read, understand and modify sources, and then compile (nothing 
hidden here, all in your control, but...)

... but take into account that just kernel sources (the smalles part of a 
distribution) has around 15 million lines.

With binary distribution you close those paths: you cant read sources, hardly 
modify the binary, and almost impossible to fully understand all this software 

> 3) I suspect that it is preferable to build the chromium OS kernel from
> source.I have seen a suggestion that it would be sensible to remove the
> binary blobs from the source before compiling .Could anyone please provide
> guidance on what to remove and how to remove it?

You are in the edge of a big jump dude; compile a kernel can be hard (or not, 
depends in your knowledge about kernel itself and the hardware you are running).
Read before jump, or maybe can be great if there is an "Install Party" 
somewhere close to you (meetings where Linux users met and share knowledge to 
install Linux in PC).
There use to be one in each Gamming parties here where i live.

If you build it, you can cut down pieces of sources (or included binaries) you 
dont like.
For example, i use to compile "super-mini" kernels for my server (because they 
almost have no hardware).
Also is easy to cut down things you dont know they are needed... ^^ panic for 
all!! hehehe

The boot process should be: Libreboot (done!) > Grub/Lilo (read;) > kernel > 
Grub or Lilo are boot managers that will help you to try different kernels (i 
have a Grub's menu on boot with different kernel to choose on boot).

So read and understand how your boot manager works before diving into custom 
kernels. Will save you a lot of pain in the ass :)


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