Already in 2002, Richard Stallman, founder and president of the FSF, criticized the fact that the Linux orientation makes the systems unfree. According to Stallman, the kernel uses a lot of code that is not GPL-compliant and challenges kernel redistribution. Not a small number of device drivers contain series of numbers that represent the firmware of the chips and are not available in the source code. In the opinion of the FSF president, this part of the Linux kernel violates the GPL and thus makes the core unfree.
Therefore, a solution has been promising for some time a modification of the Free Software Foundation Latin America (FSFLA) kernel, directed by Alexandre Oliva. The developer maintains an alternative version of the kernel, which dispenses with all components not available in the source code and completely devotes itself to the idea of free availability. To do this, Oliva adjusts the sources of the kernel, eliminating dependencies and straightening calls. Meanwhile, it works quite smoothly, so that the developer can publish a clean version of Linux almost at the same time as the shares of the regular kernel.
Linux-libre 5.1 came just hours after the release of Linux 5.1 and is based on the official release of Linus Torvalds’ Kernel 5.1. In addition to the regular changes, the current “libre” kernel cleans a bunch of drivers and eliminates loading of non-free components in mt7603 and goya. The “deblobbing” in wilc1000 has been improved and the handling optimized in iwlwifi, soc-acpi-intel sound, brcmfmac, mwifiex, btmrvl, btmtk and touchscreen_dmi. In addition, the cleanup of components that no longer exist was switched off.
The clean version of the kernel can be downloaded from the source code page of the FSFLA. In addition, the project also provides xdelta packages.
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht