Linux-Libre kernel

Alexandre Oliva lxoliva at
Mon Apr 16 05:13:58 UTC 2018

[adding linux-libre at]

Hello, Ben,

On Jan 30, 2018, Ben Gailly <ben at> wrote:

> So, I'm a Kernel newbie. As a newbie, I know that I have to start
> somewhere somehow and after I'll have to choose a path.

> I already have plenty of informations about kernel development (a lot
> of websites/books to learn of, teaching, tutorials, etc).

> But as a Free Software advocate and enthusiast, I would like to start
> my path in learning how to develop kernels patches or drivers or
> modules only as Free Software, which could be part of the Linux-Libre
> kernel and not necessarly part of the mainline Linux Kernel...

> Could you help me in providing informations on how to develop for the
> Linux-Libre kernel? How to remove/change codes to match the FSF
> guidelines?

IIRC we talked on IRC shortly after you sent email (I recall seeing the
message coming into my inbox, but I didn't manage to find it again; I
didn't think of looking for it in the folder that holds email for
info at, since it's so unrelated with general requests for
information from the organization), but if I'm mistaken, I apologize for
the long delay in responding.

We don't make changes to Linux other than the minimal ones required to
make it FSDG-compliant.  Any other sort of development should go
upstream; our deblobbing infrastructure is not compatible with
maintaining other kinds of local patches, which is fine because our goal
is to keep divergence to a minimum.

Now, maybe in your last paragraph you're not asking about developing the
kernel, but rather developing userland applications for the kernel.  The
good news is that the userland/kernel interfaces are not changed in any
way, so userland development for GNU Linux-libre is no different from
userland development for non-Free Linux.  Except for the joy of using a
kernel that respects your freedom ;-)

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 Brasil GNU Toolchain Engineer

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