Purism is getting some slack about it’s firmware:
The first one had a stock UEFI BIOS, the second one will apparently have a coreboot BIOS with a Purism-customized FSP.
It’s not too hard to fork a new Debian OS (PureOS), there’re many to emulate. But being a micro-sized OEM means you have to deal with COTS hardware, which have blobs.
You can’t build a modern computer w/o using it’s hardware. The firmware enables this. Open source projects like Tianocore or coreboot don’t have all the necessary firmware to enable this hardware. On Intel systems, they need the Intel Firmware Support Package (FSP), all the “blobs” needed to enable the hardware. OEMs and IBVs take Intel’s FSP blobs and combine them with the tianocore UEFI code or the coreboot code, and build a firmware image for their system. Some IBVs create their own firmware from spec, w/o FSP, but that is going to take a lot of work, and the NDA’ed material probably means no open source version.
Purism apparently is a licensee of the Intel FSP source code, so they can edit the FSP source and recompile them. I presume this means Purism is under NDA with Intel, and can’t give some details of what they’re doing.
There will always be blobs in current Intel systems. Purism may reduce the number of FSP blobs, but can’t eliminate them. Perhaps Purism should focus on AMD systems, if ASEGA(sp) is open source? Perhaps Purism should focus on ARM systems, where — if sufficiently funded, they could build a chip with just the parts they want; still there are ARM Ltd NDAs. I don’t think Purism — or any similar Linux OEM — will be able to create anything useful until RISV-V is an alternative to the mainstream chips, in a few years. 😦
I hope Purism checks CHIPSEC results before they ship their product. 🙂
I wish Intel would open source FSP. I presume that can’t be done due to NDA issues. I wonder if the open source community would sponsor an FSP alternative, if they could accomplish it w/o the NDA’ed data?