GNU Linux-libre 5.8-gnu

Alexandre Oliva lxoliva at
Mon Aug 3 01:33:44 UTC 2020

GNU Linux-libre 5.8-gnu cleaning-up scripts, cleaned-up sources, and
cleaning-up logs (including tarball signatures) are now available from
our git-based release archive git://
tags {scripts,sources,logs}/v5.8-gnu.

Tarballs and incremental patches are still getting compressed; when
ready, they are all going to be at published along with patches at

There haven't been any changes to the deblobbing scripts since 5.8-rc7
last weekend.

This was quite a big release.  New drivers that required cleaning up
were for Atom ISP Video, MediaTek 7663 USB and 7915 PCIe and Realtek
8723DE WiFi, Renesas PCI xHCI, HabanaLabs Gaudi coprocessor, Enhanced
Asynchronous Sample Rate Converter, Maxim Integrated MAX98390 Speaker
Aimplifier, Microsemi ZL38060 Connected Home Audio Processor, and I2C
EEPROM Slave.  Drivers for Adreno GPU, HabanaLabs Goya coprocessor, x86
Touchscreen, vt6656 and btbcm, and various documentation files needed
adjustments to their cleaning-up details.

I've also made some adjustments to enable the use of deblob-check to
verify full tarballs using Python or Perl rather than GNU awk or GNU
sed.  The order of regexp alternatives matters in Python and Perl
regular expression engines, and some constructs lead to exponential
backtracking.  Those that affected looking for blobs (e.g. -l, -B) have
been fixed, so now checks for blobs without context make steady progress
even with backtracking engines; GNU awk is still tens of times faster,
but Python and Perl will run to completion with as little as a few tens
of MBs, whereas GNU awk takes a couple of GBs.  The details are in
comments in deblob-check, under 'top mem'.

GNU sed, that long ago was fastest and leanest, was retested, and
verified to now explode to a couple of tens of GBs of memory use,
running some 4x slower than GNU awk.  Maybe that's something that GNU
sed developers would like to look into and see whether there's something
wrong in their code, or in ours?

As for deblob-check -C, that still won't run to completion on full Linux
tarballs when using the Python or Perl engines.  There's presumably
still something involving exponential backtracking in the context
patterns.  Alas, I haven't got as far as fixing those in time for this
release.  This is something that contributors with some regexp
knowledge, or interest in learning, might be able to help with, without
getting into the innards of our deblobbing monster scripts.  Please get
in touch if you'd like to help.

Another thing I could use some help with is some means to avoid
introducing regexps prone to exponential backtracking when using perl or
python.  I imagine there might be some code that identifies common
pitfalls, that we might be able to use, but my web searches were

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Be Free! with GNU Linux-libre.

What is GNU Linux-libre?

  GNU Linux-libre is a Free version of the kernel Linux (see below),
  suitable for use with the GNU Operating System in 100% Free
  GNU/Linux-libre System Distributions.

  It removes non-Free components from Linux, that are disguised as
  source code or distributed in separate files.  It also disables
  run-time requests for non-Free components, shipped separately or as
  part of Linux, and documentation pointing to them, so as to avoid
  (Free-)baiting users into the trap of non-Free Software.

  Linux-libre started within the gNewSense GNU/Linux distribution.
  It was later adopted by Jeff Moe, who coined its name, and in 2008
  it became a project maintained by FSF Latin America.  In 2012, it
  became part of the GNU Project.

  The GNU Linux-libre project takes a minimal-changes approach to
  cleaning up Linux, making no effort to substitute components that
  need to be removed with functionally equivalent Free ones.
  Nevertheless, we encourage and support efforts towards doing so.

  Our mascot is Freedo, a light-blue penguin that has just come out
  of the shower.  Although we like penguins, GNU is a much greater
  contribution to the entire system, so its mascot deserves more
  promotion.  See our web page for their images.

What is Linux?

  Linux is a clone of the Unix kernel [...]

(snipped from Documentation/admin-guide/README.rst)

Alexandre Oliva, happy hacker
Free Software Activist
GNU Toolchain Engineer

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