[nycbug-talk] OpenBSD and blobs

Pete Wright pete at nomadlogic.org
Tue Oct 17 16:42:07 EDT 2006

On Tue, Oct 17, 2006 at 11:00:50AM -0400, N.J. Thomas wrote:
> * Peter Wright <pete at nomadlogic.org> [2006-10-16 19:50:23 -0700]:
> > now, i belive one of OpenBSD's main issues with binary blobs is that
> > it tends to prevent coders of drivers from getting complete hardware
> > doc? does anyone know if this is the case with the nvidia built
> > drivers?
> >From my understanding of what the OpenBSD devs have stated on the issue:
> they absolutely don't accept binblobs because you are basically running
> a lump of code for which no source (and usually no documentation either)
> is available. It's obviously a huge security risk, and their position is
> only validated by news of the Nvidia exploit.
> What they do want are these 3 things instead:
>     - binary firmware for the hardware in question (firmware is not a
>       binblob, because it is not executed, it is just copied into
>       hardware)
>     - the rights to freely distribute this firmware 
>     - enough documentation to be able to hook the OS into the hardware
> Contrary to what has been said elsewhere, they do not want the complete
> docs to write their own firmware, this is a huge waste of time for
> everyone.

ahh, thanks for clearing that up for me.  so i guess in this case nvidia
is not providing the doc. and not allowing distribution of the binary
firmware.  that's a shame, as i doubt if they allowed these things to
happen they would loose too much custom engineering contracts.  who 
knows maybe they would...


Peter Wright
pete at nomadlogic.org

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