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Old 10-14-2012, 08:46 PM   #1
DrCube
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Is there a Linux-Libre version of Slackware? Experiences with Linux-Libre?


Back when I was an Arch user, I was interested in but not brave enough to try Parabola Linux, the FSF/GNU approved version of Arch. Basically, they use a version of the kernel with non-free blobs stripped out called Linux-Libre, and blacklist non-free packages from the package manager.

I'm wondering if there is a similar project based on Slackware? Since it appears from a quick google search that there is not, I'm sure I could probably compile my own L-L kernel and install only the free Slackware packages (this actually sounds like a fun if challenging project for me).

So my second question is, does anyone have any experience with Linux-Libre based distros? What sort of things will stop working? How much of a hassle is it? Basically, I'm finding very little first hand experiences of running a libre kernel online and I'd like to hear some reviews before taking the plunge myself. Thanks.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 12:44 AM   #2
Thom1b
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If you're sure your hardware works without any non-free firmware/driver so you can use linux-libre.
I use linux-libre on my intel chips (motherboard, video) computer and it works very well. On my computer with radeon video chip, I have to use the official linux kernel with non-free firmwares.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 12:46 AM   #3
mrascii
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Welcome!

Slackware can use a stock kernel so you should be able to compile Linux-libre and run it. Check out other posts regarding how to compile the kernel.

You can get a good idea what hardware you have that won't be supported by a Free kernel by running either Trisquel or gNewSense both of which are Free operating systems recommended by the Free Software Foundation.

The most likely piece of hardware that may not work is the WiFi card. It just depends on the chipset used. In the past I've gotten around that issue by buying an inexpensive USB WiFi adapter from Rokland.

As far as programs that are not Free that ship with Slackware you are on your own to find and remove them as far as I know.

DNA
AKA mrascii

Last edited by mrascii; 10-15-2012 at 12:48 AM. Reason: Typo
 
Old 10-15-2012, 04:22 AM   #4
jtsn
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And don't forget to replace your mainboard BIOS with Coreboot or otherwise your Linux kernel is still using non-free software. You may have to remove the graphics card also.
 
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:42 AM   #5
guanx
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There is a demontration how to run Linux on a classic AVR.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 04:50 AM   #6
jhw
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In my opinion it's not satisfying to use a Linux-Libre distribution, yet. Personally, I use free software wherever possible, meaning as soon as a piece of free software is capable to satisfy my needs which have since been served by non-free software, I replace it. With Slackware 14.0 I have switched from fglrx to the free ati drivers with mesa, since they are able to produce some decent performance with my RadeonHD 4850.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 05:32 AM   #7
el chapulín
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No one mentions Debian? If you do not enable the contrib and non-free repos, Debian includes no closed source or non-free software/firmware.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsn View Post
And don't forget to replace your mainboard BIOS with Coreboot or otherwise your Linux kernel is still using non-free software. You may have to remove the graphics card also.
Whereas I believe it's important that users can ask questions about running a free system, without being subjected to this kind of snark.

Assuming you were serious, coreboot does not support enough chipsets/mobos for it to be a viable option for most people.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 07:24 AM   #8
jtsn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el chapulín View Post
Assuming you were serious
I'm assuming, people wanting free systems are serious. So I'm pointing out, that after removing non-free firmware images from the Linux kernel, they may still run a non-free system, if they left the BIOS (or UEFI) intact.

Just for clarification: BIOS/UEFI is not just a non-free bootloader.

Quote:
coreboot does not support enough chipsets/mobos for it to be a viable option for most people.
If you are serious about running a free system, you get suitable hardware.
 
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:43 AM   #9
el chapulín
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsn View Post
If you are serious about running a free system, you get suitable hardware.
Sometimes you get the hardware you have and have to make the best of it - going out spending money on new hardware in order to install coreboot is not an option for everyone. If someone wants to run a free GNU/Linux system, but does not replace their BIOS with coreboot, it is still a free system GNU/Linux system. If they dual boot windows, but their GNU/Linux system is free of non-free software - it's still a free GNU/Linux system.

Last edited by el chapulín; 10-15-2012 at 07:44 AM.
 
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:41 AM   #10
DrCube
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So it's basically a matter of "If you have the right hardware, everything will work fine and you won't notice a difference. If you have the wrong hardware, some things like wireless cards and graphics drivers just won't work at all"? That's basically what I thought.

So it's really not any extra hassle, it's just that I need to be careful about the hardware I choose?

As far as coreboot and free software consistency, obviously I'm not any kind of zealot, because I bought commodity hardware and use the occasional non-free blobs and software. I'm more of a pragmatist. However, I do align myself philosophically with the free software movement and so I'd like to use exclusively free software if at all possible. Also, one of my goals is to contribute, and I think the first step to making free software better is to use it exclusively.

I'd love to use coreboot if possible, but last time I checked, the only laptops they support are 5-7 years old Thinkpads. So maybe I'll get there eventually, but right now I'm just trying to move in the right direction.
 
Old 10-16-2012, 12:09 AM   #11
mrascii
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If you haven't sent the documentary Revolution OS it's on YouTube. Covers the development of the Free Software movement and the early days of Linux. All the important participants are in it.

DNA
AKA mrascii
 
Old 10-16-2012, 09:54 AM   #12
H_TeXMeX_H
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There is a project, which I am also contributing to, whose purpose is to document the licenses used by each Slackware package, and let users decide for themselves.
http://melikamp.com/features/freeslack/freeslack.shtml
 
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:21 PM   #13
Hannes Worst
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About your question Is there a libre implementation of Slackware you could check out Kongoni. But I don't know much about licenses.
 
Old 10-16-2012, 03:27 PM   #14
Alien Bob
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Kongoni was indeed intended to be a "Libre" version of 64-bit Slackware. It moved away from Slackware when its founder handed over the controls to a new maintainer. But looking at the web site, the new course that Kongoni took has stagnated as well.

Eric
 
Old 10-17-2012, 06:03 AM   #15
brianL
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Found this: Dragora, via the "Slackware-based projects" section at SlackLinks.
 
  


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