libera/#neo900/ Thursday, 2019-04-04

clapontJoerg-Neo900: the specs are higher and higher to me, is something bad that I miss? all I'm interested in a modern phone is -given that I install LneageOS/variants- not to have hidden backdoors/trojans - like the LoJack firmware found in a large category of laptops' BIOSes (for Computrace it seems.. or not only?)17:27
clapontafaik, the Nexus 6 is the latest Motorola in US..  given the Huawei events on US/CA, I stay away of Huaway.. or Xiomi.. but still, I wish a modern phone17:29
sixwheeledbeastDevices only need to be powerful enough to run the software they need. Times when less is more?22:29
Joerg-Neo900the problem is that any device meant to use the internet needs to be able to cope with what comes in to your device from this internet. I'll try to construct an example: when my email provider (not offering any other interface than webmailer. OK, let's just assume this to be the case) comes up tomorrow with news like >>we overhauled our web portal, all new, more shiny and much smarter<< but you find that this new webpage needs 10 times the22:54
Joerg-Neo900memory and also newest javascript features and your phone neither has that much memory nor is it compatible with those new JS functions... You're between a rock and a hard place.22:54
Joerg-Neo900Of course this webmailer example is made up and silly (is it?), but actually for example the maemo microB browser can't deal with most of the websites you find in web, anymore, since they are just too bloated for this browser to render them on this system with this amount of free RAM and CPU power22:54
Joerg-Neo900Neo900 approach to backdoors always been: For user to be sure there are no backdoors there, we use a completely FOSS "master" OS: Linux (or, if you like, any other "ROM" you trust and that is free for development of drivers), loaded, started by (and replacing instead of running under) an open bootloader that doesn't lend itself to Tivo-ization (locked bootloader) neither to any virtualization that runs your "master" OS as a sort of "VM" under23:26
Joerg-Neo900an invisible almighty hypervisor (the bootloader code/process). This leaves the "invisible second OS" on your phone: the firmware *inside* modem. For that we - unlike virtually all other projects with similar goals - do NOT rely / hope for any full audit of that firmware, since that never will fly in the end. Instead we consider the modem a backdoored rogue blackbox, to start with, and we rather sandbox and tightly monitor it comprehensively23:27
Joerg-Neo900and completely, so in one hand it can't do any harm to "us" and on the other hand we *notice* whenever it tries to do any such rogue activity. The latter is what makes Neo900 absolutely unique and way more practically useful than any simplistic hardware switches that not sandbox but bury the blackbox when engaged so you can't use the modem function, and when you need a modem you need to throw the switch and open up all the backdoors to your23:27
Joerg-Neo900system that the modem might have23:27
Joerg-Neo900the full modem firmware audit is an illusion and the hardware switch is a delusion ;-)23:33
Joerg-Neo900first can never be done and the latter will never do what you hope it would23:34
Joerg-Neo900hmm, I probably should put this tedious monologue ^^^ of mine to the Neo900 preamble ;-D23:39
paul_boddieWeb platform bloat is a really damaging thing that drives obsolescence. It's getting to the point where not even 1GB RAM is enough for some overdesigned "enter your name" Web sites.23:56
paul_boddieI guess Google and Mozilla have the attitude that you just throw your hardware in the trash and buy new and shiny. Screw the planet, in other words.23:58
Joerg-Neo900it's driven by the "you need to exploit the 4 seconds of attention the average visitor is able to sustain" approach23:58
paul_boddieAnd you're being watched for all of those four seconds.23:59

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