Linux-Libre and Trechearous Computing

Ted Smith teddks at
Tue Feb 16 14:46:21 UTC 2010

The TPM by itself would do nothing to prevent free software from being installed. What would happen is that the non-free BIOS or pre-kernel code would check for a certain signature, and might refuse to boot if it can't find it.

I dnt know if this is possible, but a very insidious peripheral could refuse to operate in the absence of a verified system image. That's the only hardware problem I can think of.

And of course, free software could be written in a malicious way such that it could demand any sort of "trusted" operations. But the point of free software is that users can modify it; such software would probably not exist for long.

"Alexandre Oliva" <lxoliva at> wrote:

>On Feb 15, 2010, Ted Smith <teddks at> wrote:
>> 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.
>> 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.
>This is my understanding as well, save for a caveat.
>TPM could *prevent* you from installing any Free Software whatsoever on
>a given system.
>That said, I don't see how having support for TPM in Linux-libre would
>aid in reducing this risk, or add any other risks of abuse of Free
>Software-only users.
>So, from what I know about this topic, I'm inclined to leave it alone,
>but I could be convinced otherwise if shown a scenario in which support
>(whatever that means) for TPM in a Free kernel makes Free Software users
>more prone to abuse from hardware or Free Software suppliers.
>Alexandre Oliva, freedom fighter
>You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Gandhi
>Be Free! --   FSF Latin America board member
>Free Software Evangelist      Red Hat Brazil Compiler Engineer

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