FSF certified new free WI-Fi module


#1

What about to add support and shipping Librem 5 with FSF-certified Wi-Fi module Libiquity Wi-Fri ND2H?

News:
https://www.fsf.org/news/libiquity-wi-fri-nd2h-wi-fi-card-now-fsf-certified-to-respect-your-freedom

Libiquity Wi-Fri ND2H based on Atheros AR9382.
Certified by Respects Your Freedom https://ryf.fsf.org/products/Wi-Fri-ND2H
Shop and spec: https://shop.libiquity.com/product/wifri-nd2h


#2

because it was certified like yesterday? Can you shake the deal and setup logistic over the weekend? :slight_smile:
Understand it’s like a wishful thinking and hint/request - but it will take time till that option would be a subject for discussion.


#3

Apparently there are several other FSF RYF-certified wireless adapters that existed for a while:

https://ryf.fsf.org/categories/wireless-adapters?vendor=All&sort_by=created&sort_order=DESC&page=0

This one seems small, could it (or another small one on that list) be used in a Librem 5 to avoid the proprietary blob for WiFi?

https://ryf.fsf.org/products/TET-N150


#4

As far as I understood the librem 5 / pureos will not need a blob for the wifi card:


#5

It’s true that the Librem 5 is supposed to be free from blobs, when the M.2 cards for cellular modem and WiFi are removed. But as I understand it there is proprietary firmware in those M.2 cards. The hope is that the Librem 5 can get the FSF RYF certification because they are separate and can be easily removed by the user, so the Librem 5 itself, without cellular or WiFi functionality, could be RYF certified. And as @dcz says in that other thread you linked to, this means the OS can be free from blobs, which is great.

But when you have the M.2 card in place and flip the killswitch that turns on WiFi, you have closed-source proprietary firmware doing who knows what, isolated inside the WiFi module on the M.2 card but still in your hand, once turned on you cannot control or even know what the WiFi is doing and when and how it communicates, all you can do is turn it off using the killswitch.

Until now I was under the impression that this was a completely necessary evil, that WiFi hardware without proprietary firmware was unavailable, which then in my mind explained why the workaround of isolating it on a removable M.2 card was used the the Librem 5. But now, learning via this thread that there are in fact RYF certified WiFi adapters (some of which exited for several years), I got confused. If such RYF WiFi hardware options are available, why was not something like that used for the Librem 5? Are there specific reasons why it is impossible, or is it something that could be done in the future?


#6

Isn’t this a miniPCIe card rather than an M.2 card? If that’s correct then this isn’t a drop in replacement.

This looks like progress but maybe for a future revision.


#7

Surely there’s an appropriate adapter (?). A quick search reveals there are minipcie to m2 adapters on the market and hopefully the FSF will come out with a companion recommendation in the near future.


#8

For the L5 there would have to be space for the adapter. Maybe more realistic for the laptops.

If you can verify the firmware then, in some respects, better to re-engineer and just use PCIe (for all three models) but that likely makes it future.


#9

Well, It’s gonna be my phone and I can brick it if I want to :stuck_out_tongue: (I’m so winning that race out of all of us here, btw :wink: ) And, if I’m lucky, I just might ‘make go’ :slight_smile:


#10

It’s almost like that old song: “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to…” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It’s_My_Party_(Lesley_Gore_song)

It’s my phone, and I’ll brick-it if I want to, brick-it if I want to, brick-it if I want to… :musical_note::notes::musical_note::notes: – could be a hit in 2020 :slight_smile:


#11

Are we certain that this IS progress?

According to the article, the chip is verified by using it with a FSF-approved distro. All this means is that no run-time loaded blob is required, it does not necessarily mean there is no closed firmware on the chip.
It could be that this is already sufficient for FSF, but I’m not sure.

Note that Purism’s desired purist standard surpasses RYF

Anyway, if they really created a free firmware for this, somebody should be able to point to the source. And in that case, it should be easy to at least also use it on the librem laptops, which also use Atheros 9k chips.


#12

Here is another one that is also on the FSF list:

https://tehnoetic.com/tehnoetic-wireless-adapter-gnu-linux-libre-tet-n150

The description there sounds good:

The Technoethical N150 Mini Wi-Fi USB Adapter respects your freedom, which means you can connect to Wi-Fi networks using only free software. This is because the integrated circuit of this adapter is Atheros AR9271, one of the few circuits in the world able to connect to Wi-Fi networks by using exlusively free software.
[…]
Because the firmware is free, you can study it and check what exactly it’s doing. Moreover, you can modify the way the adapter works, so it can be an important resource for educational experiments or for your business. With the Technoethical TET-N150 adapter, your are in control of your own computer for connecting to Wi-Fi networks too.

It says Atheros AR9271 which I guess is the same Atheros 9k that Nicole wrote about, so it is then the same one used in Librem laptops? Is it also the same one that is used for the Librem 5?


#13

and this one here is AR9382. They are all part of the 9k family and should be quite similar. So, if a free firmware is available for one or even two of them, it should be quite feasible to set free the rest of the family, too.


#14

There is the open ath9k firmware: https://wiki.debian.org/ath9k_htc/open_firmware

Yes, the chips are desktop/router class, with corresponding size and power use, and no 5GHz support. We realized choosing them would make them useless in practice.

Yes, firmware can be reverse-engineered.


#15

No but if you follow the links there is like 100+ MB of sources to download.

I thought the L5 was using a WiFi/BT card from Redpine Signals.


#16

My question is will the bluetooth work with free software.


#17

I believe that for the Librem 5 the answer is ‘yes’ - the BT works blob free.


#18

yeah but we are not talking about the L5


#19

So to be clear what specifically are you asking about? If you are asking about the module in the first post of this topic, I didn’t see any evidence that it supports Bluetooth at all. If that is correct then I am not sure how to answer your question. :slight_smile: