Brussels / 30 & 31 January 2016


The road to liberating software at the lower levels

Liberating the software running at the lower levels of the hardware we use, either on the main processor or on controllers and peripherals can reveal to be quite challenging. There is a series of (more or less) usual limitations to overcome in the process, each of them being a challenge for free software developers, with the potential of fatally blocking a free software implementation.

This talk will highlight the process of liberating the software running at the lower levels of devices we use. In particular, it will focus on each recurrent limitation that is encountered when freeing a device, with an insight on the process to overcoming them, when possible at all.

Various examples will be shown, drawn from experience liberating mobile devices at the operating system level (with Replicant), at the bootloader level and other devices such as a Chromebook laptop and another laptop's embedded controller.

Finally, the question of the free software replacement's installation process for end users will be mentioned, with positive and negative examples and suggestions for making the process less painful in general.


Photo of Paul Kocialkowski Paul Kocialkowski