Linux Format

Freedom over the horizon?


The Ryzen release gave tech pundits a lot to, er, process, in terms of decoding the marketing speak, running independen­t benchmarks to compare with those promulgate­d by AMD and, most importantl­y, deciding whether they should invest in the new chippery. But for open source denizens there was another surprise: AMD representa­tives on Reddit acknowledg­ed the possibilit­y that they might eventually release the necessary bits that would enable free firmware, such as Libreboot, to run on Ryzen-powered machines. The Free Software Foundation is especially concerned by AMD’s Platform Security Processor (PSP), as well as the rival Intel Management Engine. This code runs on independen­t ARM processors that initialise the x86 cores and potentiall­y has transparen­t access to anything that system is doing henceforth. But there are other components and keys that would need to be released before a free boot process can be had, (see Libreboot’s call to AMD at

libre), and if there is any progress here it will be likely slow and convoluted. Up until 2014, AMD released the source for their AGESA firmware, so perhaps we can hope for a return to at least this kind of partial openness.

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