CPU as a service // MINIX in Intel ME

Timothy Pearson tpearson at raptorengineering.com
Tue Nov 28 21:33:06 UTC 2017

Hash: SHA1

On 11/28/2017 03:23 PM, Jann KRUSE wrote:
> In short:
> We are essentially being forced, without even being told, to run buggy
> proprietary code in a very powerful and very capable hyper-hyper-visor
> of our OS, which can (benign or maliciously) control both the (free)
> software we run and the hardware we "own", without our knowledge.
> (See also in-line comment below..)
> Greetings,
> Jann
> PGP 0xE7A47A578A30148A

As before, though, you're only forced into this you need to stay on x86.

IMHO part of the reasoning for this lockdown is that the majority of x86
sales by volume are still to consumers. Therefore, there is strong call
to prevent the machine lessee (hesitate to call anyone bound by an EULA
an "owner") from doing anything that might be considered unacceptable
(e.g. breaking DRM, posting restricted content, using unlicensed
software like Linux, possibly even depending on region criticising the
authorities).  We're already seeing some of this in the wild in that the
4k streaming services require the ME and its DRM in order to run.

It's still early enough to at least forcibly split "production",
owner-controlled hardware from the "consumption" leased hardware.
However this only happens if people support the vendors that are still
making owner controlled hardware by selecting their products over the
competing leased x86 systems.

Anecdotally, I have personally seen way too many people supposedly
interested in libre software that are literally locking themselves into
the x86 walled garden over games.  Think about that: *games*.  Giving up
privacy and control to waste time in front of a *game*.  This is the
mentality that needs to be fixed, that somehow consuming content is more
important than being able to create it.  No idea how to do that right now.

As always, just my $0.02.

- -- 
Timothy Pearson
Raptor Engineering
+1 (415) 727-8645 (direct line)
+1 (512) 690-0200 (switchboard)
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