Linux-Libre and Trechearous Computing

Ted Smith teddks at
Mon Feb 15 15:17:10 UTC 2010

On Mon, 2010-02-15 at 13:58 +0100, davide89v wrote:
> Hi i'm a new user in this list, i want do a question on this free
> version of linux.
> I think that libre linux should not only remove the blob but also the
> support for the trecherous computing.
> What do you think?

I don't think that would be a good idea in the least, because as long as
all your software is free, you have nothing to fear from a TPM in your
system, and you can put it to good use.

A TPM on its own is not a magic bullet of tyranny. It can't limit what
you do (it doesn't magically verify every instruction) or phone home (it
doesn't have its own network drivers+TCP/IP stack) on its own. It needs
non-free software to do that.

If you're not using any non-free software that uses the TPM maliciously,
it can be a very good thing. For instance, you could load your own
keypair on it (I don't believe any TPMs manufactured so far block this)
and sign your keyboard drivers to prevent keylogging, or sign your
bootloader so you know you weren't the victim of an Evil Maid attack.

It's probably a good thing to oppose treacherous computing in the
general case, because practically nobody uses only free software, and as
such TC is in a position to wreak utter havoc. But we don't gain
anything by denying ourselves TPMs that we know we control.
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