Raptor Engineering is working and crowdfunding a high-end power8 based desktop computer with zero proprietary firmware blobs in the Talos Secure Workstation. Traditionally IBM, Oracle(Sun), Intel/AMD and others ruled this market segment. But now there is competition to Intel for a desktop computer.
talos openpower


Talos Secure Workstation Specs

  1. Form factor – ATX Mainboard
  2. IBM POWER8 processors
  3. Up to 256 GB RAM
  4. Up to 96 logical cores
  5. 8 x 6 Gbps internal SATA
  6. 2-port USB 3.0 header and 2 x internal USB 3.0
  7. 8 x DDR3 ECC DIMM slots
  8. Multiple PCIe, USB, and other interfaces
  9. Onboard FPGAs
  10. AST2400 BMC with HDMI video
  11. Operating System support – RHEL/CentOS 7.2+, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 or higher, Ubuntu 14.04.3+, Debian 8.0+, Fedora 22+
  12. Open and fully auditable firmware available
Power8 CPU

Power8 CPU

Talos fully open firmware means there are absolutely no inscrutable binary blobs where bugs, backdoors, and vulnerabilities can hide. If you deal with sensitive information or you care about the safety of your intellectual property. POWER from IBM is the only open, owner-controllable architecture that is competitive in performance. The system will set cost you $3,700 USD and it includes Mainboard and Accessories. The Power8 cpu will costs from $1,135 USD (3.026 GHz 8 core) to $3,350 USD for 3.226 GHz 12 core cpu.

Yes, it is expensive but that is the price you have to pay for freedom. The main advantage here is all open. The firmware is open. The operating system is open. You actually own the system. There is no way you can get existing fully open x86 system. The power 8 systems are really beautiful. I used to work with Linux-based power servers, and they just have incredible performance properties under a heavy load.

If you can’t afford the mainboard or a complete system, please pledge some money for user freedom. This project is critical for open source community. I suggest donating a little bit.

=> Talos Secure Workstation Crowdsupply Campaign

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

2 comments… add one
  • Alex Jan 10, 2017 @ 6:01

    >Talos fully open firmware means there are absolutely no inscrutable binary blobs where bugs, backdoors, and vulnerabilities can hide
    Does that include the processor design and microcode (I’m assuming it has some form of microcode)? If so that claim doesn’t really stand up. Same goes with the other chips on the board. Just because they have open firmware doesn’t mean you can’t hide a backdoor in silicon.

    Don’t get me wrong, this is a big step in the right direction, but it would be much more accurate to say, “Talos fully open firmware means there are fewer places where bugs, backdoors, and vulnerabilities can hide”.

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