Another important stride has been made this week by open source software as iMX6 platforms which are based on the common ARM architecture (the architecture used by pretty much all modern mobile devices) managed to boot (and run) Android operating system without any proprietary blobs.
“This makes iMX6 one of the very few embedded SOCs [System On Chip] that needs no blobs at all to run”
Blobs, in case you were wondering, is the term used by field professionals to describe a piece of closed-source software in the form of binary (zeros and ones) without publicly available source code – a practice which makes it very hard for other developers to copy, modify or replace the code.
The achievement was made possible thanks to newly added support made by Collabora (main developers of LibreOffice) as well as other companies and individuals.
“With modifier support added to Mesa and gbm_gralloc, it is now possible to boot Android on iMX6 platforms using no proprietary blobs at all”
Perhaps the best thing about this achievement is that it doesn’t throws away power efficiency – an important aspect especially on mobile and embedded devices – in favor of giving up the proprietary code.
As of current, the new code is in the process of being upstreamed, in the meanwhile you may check out the following video demonstration of Android booting without proprietary.