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Question received: "How is the Samsung nonfree software interacting with Replicant?"

Added by Tiberiu T over 4 years ago

Hello, we have received an enquiry at Tehnoetic:

  • How does the Samsung software running on the Tehnoetic S2 phone interact with Replicant?
  • Can the nonfree software running on the device access the hardware on the phone (aside from the radio receiver) without going through Replicant?
  • Can the nonfree software change out the bootloader without the user's permission?

We thought it's best if we redirect these questions to the Replicant forums. Thanks in advance!


Replies (3)

RE: Question received: "How is the Samsung nonfree software interacting with Replicant?" - Added by Daniel Kulesz over 4 years ago

Just my personal opinion on that: I guess you can't really say something this for sure. While the official documents by the chip manufacturers say it can't (as far as I understood it from Replicant so far), but it's still pretty hard to actually prove that without completely disassembling the firmware and probably also the hardware.

You might be interested in the following article which touches a bit on this topic:

http://www.computer.org/csdl/mags/co/2010/10/mco2010100039-abs.html

RE: Question received: "How is the Samsung nonfree software interacting with Replicant?" - Added by Paul Kocialkowski over 4 years ago

How does the Samsung software running on the Tehnoetic S2 phone interact with Replicant?

That's very vague. What is that Samsung software exactly? Does it entail the bootloader, the kernel code that Samsung wrote (that is free software), the firmwares preinstalled on the peripherals and controllers (that are mostly not written by Samsung, except perhaps for the camera and various aspects of the SoC)?

Can the nonfree software running on the device access the hardware on the phone (aside from the radio receiver) without going through Replicant?

Mostly, non-free software running on the device is either the bootrom/bootloader, that could probably technically still run in the background (it's unlikely, but perhaps some advanced techniques could make it possible), or firmware running inside controllers/peripherals, that definitely has access to the hardware, since its main purpose is to handle the hardware. Whether a firmware running on peripheral A can access peripheral B is unclear, it depends how things are wired internally.

Can the nonfree software change out the bootloader without the user's permission?

The bootloader could probably change itself, yes. The bootrom, could change it too. However, since the bootloader has to be signed, it seems unlikely that such as modification would happen in practice, since the binary would have be signed again.
Firmwares cannot access the device's storage, as far as we know.

RE: Question received: "How is the Samsung nonfree software interacting with Replicant?" - Added by Tiberiu T over 4 years ago

Thanks a lot both of you for answering these questions.

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