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Re: mass bug filing for unmet dependencies

Michael Poole <mdpoole@troilus.org> wrote:

> I had not considered that.  For some functions[1], I believe the
> kernel does have to call the BIOS, but most of the time it need not.
> It should be possible to remove those features of the kernel to
> "contrib," though, so it is not as fundamental as the boot loader's
> dependency on the BIOS.
> [1]- I think mostly related to power management.

Indeed. The ACPI interpreter in the kernel exists for the sole purpose
of extracting non-free code from the system BIOS, interpreting it and
then running it on the host CPU. Much modern hardware will fail to boot
if this isn't possible.

It's actually fairly trivial to write GPLed ACPI tables - the
specification is online, and Intel supply a compiler. For a large range
of machines, it's also easy to replace the image in flash (There are
tools available to split up the chunks of Phoenix and Award BIOSes, and
the ACPI tables just fall out as a separate chunk. Replace them, relink
the BIOS and reflash it, and you're away - I've done work more
complicated than this without any trouble before).
Matthew Garrett | mjg59-chiark.mail.debian.legal@srcf.ucam.org

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