this laptop (MNT Reform) and this phone (Purism Librem 5) have the same SoC (CPU/GPU/...), i.MX8M. and both run free and open source drivers and software.

@mntmn still, the purism phone can't make calls🙄

@mntmn Wish I could be at FOSDEM this year to see this laptop! Amazing work.

@mntmn Is firmware also open source?

(Asking cuz not everyone knows the difference between drivers and firmware.)

@kmicu @mntmn firmware is just hardware implemented in software and it’s weird how people want open firmware but don’t care how much of the functionality is software vs hardware and you don’t see as much of a call for open hardware

@irl @mntmn We can change firmware cuz “is just implemented in software” but we cannot change hardware easily.
That’s exactly the point.

@kmicu @mntmn so should we be campaigning for more features to be in software? I mean, the things in software vs hardware were chosen by the manufacturer based on cost and performance but maybe those things don’t line up with what you might want to change.

@irl @mntmn
Personally, I care for maximizing libre software and hardware. Higher priority is for parts that change the most. So software and firmware†.

Of course I prefer to have full libre product but changing hardware requires direct access OTOH firmware can be pushed and loaded remotely. So I want to avoid blobs‡ in it.


@irl My original question to @mntmn was only about clarifying what ‘open source drivers’ mean ’cuz lot of folks use ‘drivers’ term when they talk about ‘linux kernel (GPL) drivers and (proprietary) firmware’.

So in practice: can we use deblobbed Linux kernel on MNT Reform and enjoy it or not?

@kmicu @mntmn yeah I get that it’s just interesting where the line is drawn. In OpenBSD for example they will happily ship blobs but won’t take drivers that don’t have good documentation or that need an NDA to actually understand while Linux will ship an “open source” but incomprehensible driver that only makes sense to those that read the secret docs.

@kmicu @irl yes, the kernel can be used without blobs (except if you want to use HDMI)

@mntmn @kmicu does any technical documentation require an NDA?

@irl @kmicu no, but specific internal information about some IP blocks is secret / you have to have a relationship with Synopsys to get the databooks (we don’t have that). stuff like this can only be solved with libre silicon

@mntmn @irl ah that makes sense now. The common offender is WiFi chip and DDR* but iirc the basic Reform version has expansion slots and no WiFi.

Thank you.

I really appreciate when you’re transparent† about those gray‑zone issues.

(Thanks to Bunnie‡ I’m painfully aware that realistic libre projects are really difficult and I’m grateful for your attempts.)


@kmicu @irl the only firmware blob that is needed is loaded by u-boot into the DDR3/4 PHY for training at initial boot. it runs once in a special MCU in the PHY that doesn’t have bus access, sets calibration registers and is then stopped.

@mntmn Nice stuff!
Decided not to go to FOSDEM, doing Global Game Jam instead
Hope you have a good time, and as always, the Reform is an amazing project!

@mntmn Being free as in freedom is nice, but damn, Purism is so much overpriced. That's why for many of us AOSP rom installed on a regular Android phone must be kosher enough ;-;

@mntmn hmm dooes the laptop have more ram or something ? is there any hardware difference? i remember your mainboard's looking quite a bit larger than smellphone dimensions👾

@mntmn The Librem 5 is already ordered... *waiting for the Reform-funding to order*

@mntmn a fully free and open laptop? Will that come with an open bios pre-installed? I wonder what the price will be, it looks like it will match perfectly with that phone.

@mntmn Hey how is the Librem 5. It's too expensive for me :( but I want un open source phone for when my Google phone dies. I love having control over the things I own!

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