Obfuscated Code

Alexandre Oliva lxoliva at fsfla.org
Sun Aug 2 15:07:13 UTC 2020

On Jul 24, 2020, "a.reviewer1234 at yahoo.com" <a.reviewer1234 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I believe in the past I have heard that linux-libre removes obfuscated
> code from mainline linux.

That was presumably in reference to disguising dumps of pieces of binary
firmware code as configuration data in arrays of bytes.  This was common
practice in Linux when we started.

It has been largely deprecated there, in favor of loadable firmware
files, later moved to a distribution outside the kernel Linux source
tree.  There are very few remaining examples.

Though this move helped reduce accidental infringement, it did nothing
to solve the actual software freedom problem: the non-Free firmware
programs still exist, and are most often still required by drivers.

The best way to solve that is to reverse-engineer those blobs, and
develop Free versions of them.  People who have the skills, the interest
and the availability to engage in such tasks have been very rare

Alexandre Oliva, happy hacker
Free Software Activist
GNU Toolchain Engineer

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