[Freedom-misc] Excellent interview with Hyperbola co-founder on why they are making a libre BSD kernel, and other stuff

andyprough at protonmail.com andyprough at protonmail.com
Sat Mar 7 03:24:32 CET 2020


Andre, the co-founder of Hyperbola, makes a number of really good points in  
this interview. All of his arguments are from the perspective of making a  
distro that is more compliant with GPL3:

1. The Linux kernel is rapidly proceeding down an unstable path:
(a) "...it’s including the adaption of DRM features such as HDCP  
(High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection)
(b) "the Linux kernel is no longer getting proper hardening"
(c) "the interest in allowing Rust modules into the kernel are a problem for  
us, due to Rust trademark restrictions which prevent us from applying patches  
in our distribution without express permission. We patch to remove non-free  
software, unlicensed files, and enhancements to user-privacy anywhere it is  

2. Why he chose to fork the openBSD kernel:
(a) "new system calls, including pledge and unveil which adds additional  
hardening to userspace and the removal of the systrace system  
policy-enforcement tool"
(b) the openBSD kernel is also "known for Xenocara and LibreSSL, both of  
which we had already been using after porting them to GNU/Linux-libre"
(c) "LibertyBSD has been working on liberating the OpenBSD kernel, which  
allowed us to use their patches"

3. What percentage of the OpenBSD kernel code falls into the non-GPL zone?  
How will they make it a libre kernel?
(a) "around 20% in the OpenBSD kernel and userspace [are currently non-free]"
(b) "The non-free firmware blobs in OpenBSD include various hardware  
firmwares. ... These blobs may contain vulnerabilities or backdoors in  
addition to violating your freedom, but no one would know since the source  
code is not available for them. They must be removed to respect user  

4. They have forked the Palemoon "UXP" browser code to create a suite of web  
5. They are forking pacman and openRC to work on BSD
6. Planning to port the following file systems: "BTRFS, JFS2, NetBSD’s  
CHFS, DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER/HAMMER2 and the Linux kernel’s JFFS2, all of  
which have licenses compatible with GPLv3"

Lots more good stuff. Quite an interesting person with a very strong message!  

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