Purism BIOS efforts

Purism mentioned in a Tweet that they have 3 developers working on Intel Management Engine:

They have one document, from the summer, talking about how they’re trying to free the BIOS:


And another more recently-updated status page:


Purism offers the first high-end privacy and freedom-respecting laptops by manufacturing the motherboard and sourcing daughter cards, where all chips are designed to run free software. Purism laptops are completely free from the bootloader through the kernel (with no mystery code, binary blobs, or firmware blobs), including the operating system and all software. We have yet to free the Intel FSP binary and ME binary from within the coreboot BIOS to move us toward FSF RYF endorsement. We are working diligently to free the BIOS, but our goal is to go further than that: Purism also intends to free the firmware within HDDs and SSDs.

I’m still unclear how this will result. I’m of two minds on this: I love the idea of having a system I can trust, so am happy to see projects like Novena and Purism. On the other hand, Purism is fighting Intel’s security mechanisms, and I’m a little concerned the result will remove some Intel defensive technology that makes the system more easily attackable.

Their current model has a kill switch, which is a nice feature. [I’d also like a case that closes access to the ports when closed, and has a LOCK, with a good quality lock, that can’t be easily picked. That’d be an issue for TSA checkpoints, though.] I might also consider getting ride of Suspend/Resume, a lot of attacks happen there, and systems are fast enough these days to live without this feature.

I wish other OEMs would compete with Purism, it would be nice to have more options than a handful of ancient refurbished Thinkpads and a handful of remaining Novenas. The current Purism model is nearly done with funding, only a few days left:


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