09.26.19

Linux is Not Free Software and It’s Getting Harder to Fix It

Posted in DRM, FSF, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Kernel at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

AMD (now the owner of ATI) puts DRM in Linux through graphics drivers

Protest against ATI
Source: Protest against ATI nearly led to the arrest of RMS (2006)

Summary: The battle for digital freedom has long been lost in kernel space; earlier this year Techrights analysed the complete source code of Linux to find DRM already well entrenched inside the kernel and it keeps spreading further (Linux is becoming the very thing the FSF objected to in Windows Vista; it is “Open Source Proprietary Software”)

THE technical limits of removal of blobs from Linux had been reached long before DRM landed inside Linux. For instance, linux-libre issues were already mentioned the other day; blobs are "bugs". What does that mean? In simple terms it means that ‘fixing’ Linux by removing bad stuff from it (not the same as a fork) would produce an unsatisfactory outcome. Moreover, it gets worse over time. It’s not only “subpar” or “not ideal”; it can be very messy. Ask people who use linux-libre in their distro.

“In simple terms it means that ‘fixing’ Linux by removing bad stuff from it (not the same as a fork) would produce an unsatisfactory outcome.”Some months ago Phoronix mentioned in passing that AMD was putting DRM in Linux (the evil DRM, not Direct Rendering). So did Intel along with Google. Yesterday Phoronix posted this update to say: “The recent work over the past few months on HDCP support for Raven Ridge and newer. Granted, many open-source fans won’t be happy to hear about High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) support coming to the AMD Linux driver but it’s already been supported by the open-source Intel driver and NVIDIA’s proprietary driver. The HDCP support is actually good news in one respect as it’s likely at the behest of Google with AMD APUs now appearing in Chromebooks, similar to Google having pushed along Intel’s Linux HDCP support. This HDCP support could lead to enabling AMD to compete with other design wins for other Linux-powered devices. If you don’t want AMD HDCP support, at least for now they have it exposed as a Kconfig option so you can disable building the support via DRM_AMD_DC_HDCP.”

“What happened to “Bad Vista” and “Defective by Design”? We don’t suppose that a Stallman-less FSF would do any better against such threats to our freedom.”What’s most curious here isn’t that AMD follows Intel’s footsteps (that’s typical) but the lack of statement or complete silence from the EFF, the FSF, the FSFE…

All those who claim to have opposed DRM didn’t keep their eyes on this ball. Had they done so, maybe AMD would at least have second thoughts about it. But no… and so Linux gradually gets ruined in the same way the WWW was ruined, owing to inaction on EME (DRM inside the ‘standards’). The FSF did speak about it and organised against it. Why not HDCP? What happened to “Bad Vista” and “Defective by Design”? We don’t suppose that a Stallman-less FSF would do any better against such threats to our freedom.

As a side note, Phoronix tries to remain neutral; the above oughtn’t be interpreted as Michael Larabel’s endorsement of DRM. Larabel has thankfully highlight many of these things over the years and for that he deserves our gratitude and support.

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2019/09/26/linux-as-open-source-proprietary-software/

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A Single Comment

  1. RickSanchez2600 said,

    September 26, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Gravatar

    SJWs want DRM and software that phones home in Linux to get more money out of it using their greed.

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