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Libreboot Creator Says After Coding a Fork for ‘GNU Boot Project’, FSF Sent a Cease-and-Desist Letter Over Its Name | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Libreboot is a distribution of coreboot “aimed at replacing the proprietary BIOS firmware contained by most computers,” according to Wikipedia. It was briefly part of the GNU project, until maintainer Leah Rowe and the GNU project agreed to part ways in 2017.

But here in 2023, the GNU project has created a fork of Libreboot named GNU Boot… The GNU Boot fork “currently does not have a website and does not have any releases of its own,” points out Libreboot’s Leah Rowe, adding “My intent is to help them, and they are free — encouraged — to re-use my work… ” But things have gotten messy, writes Rowe:

They forked Libreboot, due to disagreement with Libreboot’s Binary Blob Reduction Policy. This is a pragmatic policy, enacted in November 2022, to increase the number of coreboot users by increasing the amount of hardware supported in Libreboot… I wish GNU Boot all the best success. Truly. Although I think their project is entirely misguided (for reasons explained by modern Libreboot policy), I do think there is value in it. It provides continuity for those who wish to use something resembling the old Libreboot project…

When GNU Boot first launched, as a failed hostile fork of Libreboot under the same name, I observed: their code repository was based on Libreboot from late 2022, and their website based on Libreboot in late 2021. Their same-named Libreboot site was announced during LibrePlanet 2023… [N]ow they are calling themselves GNU Boot, and it is indeed GNU, but it still has the same problem as of today: still based on very old Libreboot, and they don’t even have a website. According to [the FSF’s Savannah software repository], GNU Boot was created on 11 June 2023. Yet no real development, in over a month since then…

I’ve decided that I want to help them… I decided recently that I’d simply make a release for them, exactly to their specifications (GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines), talking favourably about FSF/GNU, and so on. I’m in a position to do it (thus scratching the itch), so why not? I did this release for them — it’s designated non-GeNUine Boot 20230717, and I encourage them to re-use this in their project, to get off the ground. This completely leapfrogs their current development; it’s months ahead. Months. It’s 8 months ahead, since their current revision is based upon Libreboot from around ~October 2022…

The GNU Boot people actually sent me a cease and desist email, citing trademark infringement. Amazing…

I complied with their polite request and have renamed the project to non-GeNUine Boot. The release archive was re-compiled, under this new brand name and the website was re-written accordingly. Personally, I like the new name better.


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