GNU Linux-libre 6.2-gnu (la quinceañera)
lxoliva at fsfla.org
Mon Feb 20 06:16:44 UTC 2023
GNU Linux-libre 6.2-gnu cleaning-up scripts, cleaned-up sources, and
cleaning-up logs (including tarball signatures) are now available from
our git-based release archive git://linux-libre.fsfla.org/releases.git/
Compressed tarballs and incremental patches are also available at
The cleanup scripts haven't required changes since rc7, but there was a
small change since rc6, the first published for this series.
This week we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the initial release of
the Linux-libre project by Jeff Moe. (A separate announcement about the
anniversary is planned for later this week, stay tuned :-)
We've codenamed this release "la quinceañera", and we're celebrating it
with a picture of Freedo dressed up for the occasion in a tuxedo.
Thanks a gazillion to co-maintainer and artist Jason Self for tending to
the last-minute request! <https://linux-libre.fsfla.org/#news>
Freesh and RPMFreedom, the distributions of .deb and .rpm packages of
GNU Linux-libre maintained by Jason Self, already have binaries of
== Cleaning-up changes in this release
This release cycle had a reminder of the early days of Linux-libre, in
which Linux carried tons of actual blobs disguised as source code: v6.2
upstream introduced a brand new old-fashioned sourceless binary blob
disguised as a sequence of numbers, i.e. binary object code encoded as
Now, sequences of numbers in Linux are common, and many of them are just
configuration numbers, developed and maintained as such. They are not
an attack on our freedom, so they stay.
But this is not the case of those we've been removing, or disabling (*).
The numbers encode executable instructions that control the embedded
processor it is supposed to run. They are programs, or fragments
thereof, and there is certainly actual source code for them somewhere.
The binaries encoded as numbers are active software rather than passive
data, and we're deprived of their actual sources, so they have to go: a
device under someone else's control is worse for the user's freedom than
a device that does no harmful work at all.
(*) Years ago, upstream moved most (but not all) of the firmware
dependencies (free and nonfree) into separate files, and then out into
packages distributed separately, to mitigate legal risks for developers
and distributors of the kernel Linux (the GNU GPL requires distributors
to offer *complete* corresponding sources), but ultimately this move
made no concrete difference for users' freedom: accepting that a
third-party master will control your device, under the threat that it
will otherwise turn into a brick, is not freedom; it does not amount to
having control over your own computing.
=== The usual
Every release also brings new blob names and requests in drivers we
cleaned up before (too many to mention in this release), and that
sometimes also requires other adjustments and updating (nouveau, radeon,
mt7921, new and preexisting aarch64 dts files).
There were also several new drivers containing blob names and requests
(mt7622, mt7996, bcm4377) that we have disabled.
One driver we used to clean up, s5k4ecgx, was removed upstream, so we
could drop its cleaning up logic.
We've also removed commented-out logic left over from when we were not
sure whether PCMCIA CIS loadable files were code (they aren't, they are
just a compact encoding of configuration data), and whether Sound Open
Firmware should be cleaned up (the code can load Free firmware indeed,
even though some devices seem to require the otherwise-Free firmware to
be signed, which effectively Tivoizes those signed programs, but the
loading code cannot distinguish between them, so it is left enabled).
For up-to-the-minute news, join us on IRC (#gnu-linux-libre on
libera.chat). I often mention our releases on P2P or federated social
media as well. The link in my email signature has directions.
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.
If you are the author of an awesome program and want to join us in
writing Free (libre) Software, please consider making it an official
GNU program and become a GNU Maintainer. You can find instructions
on how to do so at https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation. We look
forward to hacking with you! :)
What is Linux?
Linux is a clone of the Unix kernel [...]
(snipped from Documentation/admin-guide/README.rst)
Alexandre Oliva, happy hacker https://FSFLA.org/blogs/lxo/
Free Software Activist GNU Toolchain Engineer
Disinformation flourishes because many people care deeply about injustice
but very few check the facts. Ask me about <https://stallmansupport.org>
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