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Help test the GNU Boot release(s) for GNU Boot

Category: Tester
Submitter: gnutoo
Date: Tue 31 Oct 2023 01:53:24 AM UTC
Status: Open

This software is part of the GNU Project.

To load an operating system, computers need to be able to access storage devices (like an HDD or SSD) where the operating system is installed. They need RAM to work to load part of the operating system in RAM. Users also expect the display and keyboard to work before the operating system is loaded.

But on most computers, software is needed to initialize the RAM, the storage devices, the graphic card, to load the operating system, and give some information to the operating system on what hardware it is running on.

Because of that computers usually require boot software that is bundled in the computer. It is usually found on a very small storage chip that is inside the mainboard. That software is specific to a given computer.

Unfortunately that software is usually nonfree and GNU boot aims to replace that with 100% free software.

Like with other type of software, the fact that is nonfree has real impacts. For instance this software often continues to run once the operating system is loaded and as it loads the operating system it can also modify it. So having a nonfree boot software make it impossible for users to really trust their computers. Another common issue is that some BIOS/UEFI add restrictions to prevent users from replacing the WiFi card for instance. There are many more issues but listing them all here would make this description too long.

To replace nonfree boot software, GNU boot reuses various software projects (like Coreboot, U-boot, GRUB, SeaBIOS, etc), configure and build them to produce an image that can be installed to replace the nonfree boot software for specific computers.

Users can also do all that without GNU Boot but that tend to be complicated. Having a free software project that does all that enable people to collaborate on making sure that computers boot fine regardless of the upstream project status, for instance by making binary releases and collaborating to test them.

In addition GNU boot also comes with extensive documentation to make it as easy as possible to install GNU Boot and to empower users to modify the way their computer boot.

Since not all the project it reuses are 100% free software it also removes all the nonfree software found in them along the way and will also make the scripts and/or data that does that reusable for distributions or users that want to build their own free boot software without reusing the GNU Boot configuration or build system.

License GNU General Public License v3 or later


Development Status
: 4 - Beta

Details (job description, contact ...):

We also need help for testing releases and testing/updating the installation instructions.

We currently have a list of what computers aren't tested yet in the bug 64754 (https://savannah.gnu.org/bugs/?64754).

As for reporting what you tested, you can open a new bug or send a mail to the gnuboot(http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/gnuboot) or gnuboot-patches (http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/gnuboot-patches) mailing list.

Required Skills:

Skill Level Experience

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