In late December 2019, Hyperbola announced that they would be making major changes to their project. They have decided to drop the Linux kernel in favor of forking the OpenBSD kernel. This announcement only came months after Project Trident announced that they were going in the opposite direction (from BSD to Linux).
Hyperbola also plans to replace all software that is not GPL v3 compliant with new versions that are.
To get more insight into the future of their new project, I interviewed Andre, co-founder of Hyperbola.
Why Hyperbola GNU/Linux Turned into Hyperbola BSD
It’s FOSS: In your announcement, you state that the Linux kernel is “rapidly proceeding down an unstable path”. Could you explain what you mean by that?
Andre: First of all, it’s including the adaption of DRM features such as HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). Currently there is an option to disable it at build time, however there isn’t a policy that guarantees us that it will be optional forever.
Historically, some features began as optional ones until they reached total functionality. Then they became forced and difficult to patch out. Even if this does not happen in the case of HDCP, we remain cautious about such implementations.
Another of the reasons is that the Linux kernel is no longer getting proper hardening. Grsecurity stopped offering public patches several years ago, and we depended on that for our system’s security. Although we could use their patches still for a very expensive subscription, the subscription would be terminated if we chose to make those patches public.
Such restrictions goes against the FSDG principles that require us to provide full source code, deblobbed, and unrestricted, to our users.
KSPP is a project that was intended to upstream Grsec into the kernel, but thus far it has not come close to reaching Grsec / PaX level of kernel hardening. There also has not been many recent developments, which leads us to believe it is now an inactive project for the most part.
Lastly, the interest in allowing Rust modules into the kernel are a problem for us, due to Rust trademark restrictions which prevent us from applying patches …