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    So basically any device associated with connectivity requires a blob. That’s less than ideal, but considering the alternatives it’s still a step forward.

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      OK, let’s backtrack a little.

      Using the official BSD/OpenBSD terminology — “Blobs are vendor-compiled binary drivers without any source code.” — independently acknowledged by FSF over at www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.html#BSD, according to the article, PinePhone then does NOT depend on any blobs at all, just the non-free firmware that has no access to the main memory and does not run on the main CPU, which is the most important part from a practical perspective of being blob-free.

      This is actually a very big step forward, especially compared to the OLPC / RaspberryPI launches (which, IIRC, had lots of proprietary blob-only device drivers running on your main CPU for wireless, graphics and so forth), and I’m glad this has been clarified in official sources. I think they could have even went further and explained, for example, that the wireless driver itself is OSS, too. Basically, wireless driver is OSS (presumably), graphics is OSS (explicitly mentioned as such), everything but the auxiliary device firmware is OSS (please correct me if I misunderstood the OP, or if OP is withholding anything, which, TBH, doesn’t seem to be the case, as there’d surely be enough backlash if they were to do so).

      The question that was left unanswered, for the non-Linux users, however, is whether the used hardware actually has the appropriate programming documentation, available without an NDA, such that interested developers of any of the non-Linux systems could write the requisite device drivers, without having to fish and reverse-engineer the specs in the Linux source code.


      Would it be nice to get the auxiliary firmware as OSS, too? Absolutely. But, to quote Theo de Raadt from an old interview:

      Of course, also note that we don’t want to become Hermes (the architecture of the Lucent/Prism/Symbol chip) assembly language programmers… we have more than enough to do. Just a specific example. Please, people, don’t load us up with more tasks ;)

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        The fear of blobs is that some nation state will subvert the authors/manufacturer of the blob / device to attack the user.

        Sounds paranoid… this is exactly what the five eyes nations are accusing Huawei of doing. (Personally I think they’re just sniffy that someone else is treading on their turf)

        So the pinephone has the LTE blob communicating via USB.

        BadUSB anyone?

        That said, personally I’ve pre-ordered a Purism, but hey, I’m very pleased that the linux / non-android ecosystem is growing.

        Welcome aboard pinephone! Very very please to see you. The more the merrier, gates wide open, come on in!