Helping linux fix things

Nick linux-libre-list at
Sun Aug 23 20:33:06 UTC 2009

Hi guys,

Over the past week or so I've been thinking about how best to get 
libre kernels in the long term. I think the linux-libre kernel is a 
good start, as it's great to be able to point interested people to.

However as we know a lot of hardware doesn't work with it at 
present, as the parts it removes are needed for many things to work 

At the moment the deblob script at the core of linux-libre is 
largely destructive, that is it finds and removes the parts of linux 
we consider nonfree, leaving us with a (hopefully) fully free 

I think we can use the output from the script into a more 
constructive dialogue, by having it point to specific non-free parts 
of linux for us.

I propose we use a wiki (a category on libreplanet?) to document 
each of these problematic sections. This could then be a really 
useful resource for kernel hackers to find and solve each problem 
area. Roughly speaking, pages should try to include the following 
sections (we don't have to create them all at once of course, can 
start out with stubs and gradually add this):

 - Where in the kernel tree the offending part is
 - What it does
 - Where it originated
 - Who's responsible for the driver / subsystem

There seem to be quite a few kernel hackers who'd be willing to help 
fix problems, but the kernel community in general don't want a 
reduction in the functionality of the kernel, so we need to help 
them deal constructively with each issue.

It will take some time, and the kernel will not get rid of the parts 
we object to overnight. However if we can help to provide 
replacements for each part, we can gradually be part of ensuring the 
kernel is responsive to all of our needs, and respects the freedom 
of everyone. Sound familiar to those of you who know the history of 
the GNU project?

I'm going to be very busy for the next week or so, but after then 
I'd be delighted to help start such an initiative.  

I look forward to hearing from people.


Nick White

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