"Walter Bender": Re: devkeys, prettyboot, and G1G1

John Watlington wad at laptop.org
Fri Oct 3 00:27:48 EDT 2008

How about providing dev. keys for G1G1 laptops with
no delay ?    Would you consider it an improvement ?


On Oct 1, 2008, at 10:15 PM, John Gilmore wrote:

> Mitch and I have come up with a way to ship G1G1 laptops so that they
> will pretty-boot, but still come from the factory without any need
> for developer keys (in the Forth "disable-security" setting).
> This requires a small edit to /boot/olpc.fth in the OS build,
> to load the XO child image, freeze the screen, and put the
> first "progress dot" down just before jumping to Linux.  It's
> detailed here:
>   http://dev.laptop.org/ticket/7896
> I know the support crew would be much happier if G1G1 laptops were
> shipped able to run test builds and patched software, if users could
> interact with Forth to diagnose their hardware, if they could run
> unsigned Forth code from USB collector keys, etc.
> Unfortunately, an IRC discussion with Scott today revealed that the
> engineering team has decided that we *must* ship G1G1 laptops with a
> requirement for development keys.  The reason: because too many kids
> in the third world will be getting lockdown laptops, and we want the
> G1G1 recipients to be guinea pigs to debug the laptops, to be sure the
> laptops work even when locked down (and that they unlock properly when
> the kid requests a jailbreak key).
> I see this is utterly backwards.  The countries that want DRM on their
> laptops should be paying the price in support problems and
> infrastructure.  Not the donors who sponsor a G1G1 laptop, and not the
> free software community who donate to help push this project along.
> As believers in freedom, we shouldn't be defaulting EVERY laptop to
> being locked by its manufacturer.  Yet that's the argument: because
> some of them are locked, all of them must be locked.  Or perhaps it's
> slightly more nuanced: A country that orders thousands can order them
> without DRM, but G1G1 users can't.  That sounds reasonable, but I've
> interacted with several country teams (Nepal and South Pacific), who
> had come away from OLPC with the impression that it would be
> incredibly dangerous to turn off the "security" of the laptops.  In
> Nepal's case I was unable to disabuse them of this odd notion.  So no
> country asks for freedom in their laptop shipments, and no G1G1 is
> shipped with freedom, and thus every OLPC laptop is jailed, like every
> iPhone.
> 	John
> Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2008 08:34:09 -0400
> From: "Walter Bender" <walter.bender at gmail.com>
> To: "John Gilmore" <gnu at toad.com>
> Subject: Re: devkeys, prettyboot, and G1G1
> Cc: "Mitch Bradley" <wmb at laptop.org>
> If Mitch is comfortable with his fix, I cannot see any reason not to
> ship developer keys with G1G1 machines--it would save everyone
> headaches, especially on support; but of course I cannot speak for
> OLPC these days.
> -walter
> On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 7:26 PM, John Gilmore <gnu at toad.com> wrote:
>>> I recall discussing this last time but  don't recall the reasons not
>>> to do it this way. We did ship them all pre-activated.
>> I questioned people after the fateful meeting, and it seemed to me
>> that the problem was that Nicholas wanted pretty-boot, and Mitch was
>> unwilling to try to disentangle pretty-boot from secure-boot.   
>> Secure-boot
>> was already a tangle of ugly Forth code, and he was sure that adding
>> more complexity there would result in security holes or bugs.
>> Since then, he has figured out the one-line circumvention that's
>> documented in bug #7896.  The circumvention is in the OS (since OFW
>> keeps no state).
>>        John
> -- 
> Walter Bender
> Sugar Labs
> http://www.sugarlabs.org
> [gnu: I also cc'd this to support-gang, but that required sending it
> from a different email address, due to how I am subscribed there.]
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