libre kernel

Andrew Benton andy at
Fri May 18 15:16:53 PDT 2012

On Fri, 18 May 2012 16:59:09 +0100
Mike Hollis <holliskm at> wrote:

>  I just subcribed to this list and as yet have recieved no mailings to 
> reply to, but this is relevent to the earlier posts about the gnu 
> gnu-linux discussion. As the one poster said this will probably never
> be resolved and I don't wish to open that can of worms.
>  The discussion did get me curious and I checked the gnu web page as I
> hadn't looked at it in some time and it pretty surprising to look at the
> listed "free distributions". None of what I considered to be the major
> players in early linux development were listed for various reasons. They
> also offered scripts to remove the "blobs" from the vanilla linux 
> kernel.
>  I took a quick look at one of the "de-blob" scripts and was surprised 
> at how extensive it was. My question is to anyone that has experience or
> expertise in this area: Would these kernels lose considerable 
> functionality compared to a regular kernel ?

I've never tried but I'm certain I couldn't use my current graphics
card without binary blob firmware. I do prefer to buy hardware that
doesn't need firmware but usually you don't know what it needs until
you unbox it and plug it in and see what lspci says about it. I'm
pretty sure I could put together a computer that would run without any
binary blobs but I'm also reasonably sure it would consist of really
old parts that I probably wouldn't be using otherwise :/
So it's a compromise. It's good to have principles and free (as in
open) software is a good thing but it's also nice to have a computer
that performs well.


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