Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Nov 2017 11:50 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

Andrew S. Tanenbaum, creator of MINIX, has published an open letter to Intel regarding Intel's use of MINIX in the IME:

The only thing that would have been nice is that after the project had been finished and the chip deployed, that someone from Intel would have told me, just as a courtesy, that MINIX 3 was now probably the most widely used operating system in the world on x86 computers. That certainly wasn't required in any way, but I think it would have been polite to give me a heads up, that's all.

If nothing else, this bit of news reaffirms my view that the Berkeley license provides the maximum amount of freedom to potential users. If they want to publicize what they have done, fine. By all means, do so. If there are good reasons not to release the modified code, that's fine with me, too.

I can still barely believe this whole story.

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RE[5]: Silly Andrew
by Alfman on Fri 10th Nov 2017 15:02 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Silly Andrew"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

pepa,

With this kind of license there is zero guarantee that you can get to the code. Of course things have been modified and adapted.


Yes, but this may be the lessor of two problems. Even if Intel provided the code, we still wouldn't be able to bypass the hardware restrictions that prevent us from using binaries built with that source code.

If owners had a way to install their own code for the cpu's management engine, then there would undoubtedly be enough interest from open source communities to do so independently of intel's code. In addition to minux, it's extremely likely someone would do a linux port and I'm sure there would be a great deal of interest from the formally verified kernel camp like sel4. 3rd party solutions (ie dd-wrt) are often even better in terms of security, features, and support than the original, provided that we're not locked out.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Silly Andrew
by pepa on Fri 10th Nov 2017 15:08 in reply to "RE[5]: Silly Andrew"
pepa Member since:
2005-07-08

Of course, we are all very much screwed with our modern x86 hardware, regardless of the license.

I think if it would have been the GPL-3 though, Intel would have needed to provide a way to install user-modified versions, in order to provide the software freedoms that license seeks to enforce.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: Silly Andrew
by Alfman on Fri 10th Nov 2017 15:52 in reply to "RE[6]: Silly Andrew"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

pepa,

I think if it would have been the GPL-3 though, Intel would have needed to provide a way to install user-modified versions, in order to provide the software freedoms that license seeks to enforce.


Yes a goal of GPL3 was to combat this tivoization, but it really seemed too late to have much impact. We can't even get linux under it. Had GPL2 been GPL3 from the get-go, things might have been different, but unfortunately we didn't have the foresight to mitigate the kinds of restrictions that corporations are imposing to lock out owners. Back then it wasn't conceivable that manufacturers would work against owner control like they do today. The business models have done a complete 180, it used to be about delivering the power to users, and now it's largely about platforms that control what we do.

Reply Parent Score: 3