GNU Project and Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman posted a message on the OpenBSD -misc mailing list titled, "real men don't attack straw men", suggesting that some comments he had made were being misrepresented. He noted, "one question particularly relevant for this list is why I don't recommend OpenBSD. It is not about what the system allows. (Any general purpose system allows doing anything at all.) It is about what the system suggests to the user." He went on to note that though he knew of no non-free software included in the base OpenBSD system, there was non-free software distributed via the ports collection, "if a collection of software contains (or suggests installation of) some non-free program, I do not recommend it."
In the email, RMS added that he was unsure whether or not OpenBSD includes any non-free firmware blobs. It was pointed out that OpenBSD is known for being explicity focused on not shipping blobs. As for binary firmware, Reyk Floeter explained, "there is a major difference between binary blobs and firmware images; the blobs are loaded as code into the OS kernel, but the firmware runs directly on the device on crappy embedded micro CPUs." Reyk is the author of the reverse engineered ar5k HAL OpenBSD uses to support the Atheros wireless chipset, which was recently adopted by the Linux-based MadWifi project in their ath5k driver. Reyk added, "I'm clearly against binary blobs in the kernel, and in contrast to most of the GNU/Linux dudes I _did_ some against it by writing ar5k, instead of pointing into the wrong direction. This open firmware discussion is just a joke to make the relevant discussion, binary blobs in the OS kernel, irrelevant." Marco Peereboom added, "OpenBSD is by far the most free OS in the landscape. Everything that ships with it is free or else it won't be distributed with it. There is not a single open source OS out there that is more careful than OpenBSD on licensing, copyrights and frivolous patents."
"Firmware (if not stored in a seeprom in the device) for the uticom(4).
"The Manageability Engine Interface (aka HECI) allows applications to communicate with the Intel(R) Manageability Engine (ME) firmware. It is meant to be used by user-space manageability applications to access ME features such as Intel(R) Active Management Technology, Intel(R) Quiet System Technology and ASF," Anas Nashif began, describing a new driver for accessing services found in most recent Intel desktop chipsets. Andrew Morton offered an initial review of the patch and asked for additional information, "why do we want to include this code in Linux? What value has it to our users, etc? Basically: tell us more stuff.". Anas added:
"The core hardware architecture of Intel Active Management Technology (Intel AMT) is resident in firmware. The micro-controller within the chipset's graphics and memory controller (MCH) hub houses the Management Engine (ME) firmware, which implements various services on behalf of management applications. Additionally, flash memory houses system BIOS, code used by the management engine, and a third-party data store (3PDS) that enables applications to store information as needed in non-volatile memory."
"ANY rule which reduces your rights is unacceptable," explained Theo de Raadt [interview] in a brief discussion on the OpenBSD -misc mailing list, "especially when the full consequences of such a set of rules may be unclear -- which it always is." The comment was in response to a query about why Intel's firmware was considered non-free. Theo went on to explain:
"Normal free software has no 'contract law' issues, because it is simply given away under 'copyright law with almost all author's rights revoked'. Contract law works differently, because it is based more on the principle of 'you got something, now you have to give something back'. The minute you see a URL like that explaining things in such a way, you should realize that the addition of 'rules' means you are in a different legal system.
"Copyright has no way to apply such rules, therefore [the Intel firmware] is not free."
A month before the official release of OpenBSD 3.7 [forum], OpenBSD creator Theo de Raadt [interview] anounced the availability of the official release song titled, "Wizard of OS". Each release of OpenBSD has its own song with a unique sound and theme [story], each available for download in ogg and mp3 format. The Wizard of OS is ten minutes long and inspired by Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album, a playfully appropriate matchup. Theo describes the theme as relating to "something big we have been dealing with over the last 6 months of the release -- our fight to get programming documentation and redistributable firmwares [story]." He goes on to suggest:
"Want to help us? Avoid Intel Centrino, Broadcom, TI, or Connexant PrismGT chipsets. Heck, avoid buying even regular old pre-G Prism products, to send a message. If you can, buy 802.11 products using chips by Realtek, Ralink, Atmel, ADMTek, Atheros. Our manual pages attempt to explain which vendors (ie. D-Link) box which chipsets into which product."