A recent article on a big tech news site included this phrase:

"[...] Linux phones like the PinePhone, [...]are full of closed-source firmware from non-open components"

We'd like to clear the record: The has two blobs -- neither runs on the main SoC: One loaded to WiFi/BT module, other enclosed within the cell modem. In the modern world of tech, both blobs are unavoidable.

For an overview from someone with deep knowledge of both the PinePhone and Librem 5:

@PINE64 who made the wifi + BT module and who made the cell modem? Sure, i could look it up, but they should be named every time we are discussing their blobs.


WiFi/BT is RTL8723CS
Cell modem is the Quectel EG25-G


Is opensource wifi hardware something that could be a viable project for like pine64 and the likes of you in the future?

Maybe I should direct the question to someone else, but if you got any neat input I'd be super interested in hearing about it.

Thanks for the clarification. I just read that article, and thought that was a bit much. I'm super pumped for the work you guys do. Thank you!

@PINE64 It appears that many people do not realize that this practically the first generation of modern linux phones. It's ridiculous to expect perfection at this stage.

It's almost impossible to avoid blobs like this... And it probably will be until there's a viable Open Hardware option for chips like this.

Just having a phone running Linux and mostly Open Source ecosystem is already a pretty big deal and a huge step in right direction.

@PINE64 If I understand the situation correctly the #librem5 has these as well.

@solarkraft That is my understanding as well -- along with the L5 needing a bootloader blob for DDR training, while ours is open-source. 😉


@PINE64 @solarkraft

Well if this is a thread to set records straight, would be nice not to mention just that: "bootloader blob for DDR training" but add that:

1 - The blob is kept isolated outside of the bootloader. And that makes a difference.
Like with the wifi/bt/baseband modem issues that both projects have to deal with by isolating them ;)

2 - That blob is needed for DDR4 memory training, which the Librem 5 uses, while the pinephone uses DDR3.



@PINE64 @solarkraft

And here is the post where @purism explains the issue:

And we should all just be happy, that this year we have 3 linux phone projects rolling out, when last year we had none.

I wish we lived in a world were the biggest issue when talking about phones would be competing linux projects.

But our issue today is Android/iOS proprietary spyware, and lack of open hardware.

Could we focus on that instead of having this bickering



@PINE64 @solarkraft

of which project is better while both projects are still in it's infancy and what we need is more projects like this, not less.

went over two posts on this. Sorry for the wall of posts, blame the 500 chars limit on mastodon ;p

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