Libreboot is a downstream distribution (or fork) of coreboot which doesn’t allow non-free binaries (“blobs”), and only supports a small number of devices, the vast majority of which are over 10 years old. Libreboot also doesn’t “keep track” with coreboot; its most recent release is from mid-2016, whereas coreboot is updated regularly.
Our coreboot firmware still has some blobs, as all modern Intel-based systems require them, but our our goal is to ship devices with blob-free coreboot. Since our devices are already working with completely free software, blob-free coreboot firmware would allow us to achieve FSF’s RYF certification for Librem laptops.
Our coreboot currently contains the following blobs:
video initialization blob (VBIOS) — we’ve already made some progress on this front, and our next coreboot version might be shipped without it. — Done!
* memory/silicon initialization blob (FSP) — there are some rumors Intel might release source code for this, so our work on this is currently on hold.
* CPU microcode updates — microcode updates are uploaded to the CPU at boot time, which patch the built-in microcode and disables buggy parts of the CPU to improve reliability. In the past, these updates were handled by the operating system kernel, but on all recent Intel systems the system firmware is required to perform this task (though it can still be updated by the kernel after the fact).
* Intel Management Engine (ME) firmware — we disable and effectively neutralize this blob by removing most of its code and setting flags to disable the ME coprocessor at boot time.