The Framework Laptop is an exceedingly promising and ambitious project that will create shockwaves if successful, however this grand endeavour will not be truly complete unless framework commits to freeing the embedded controller firmware and offering coreboot. Fully open-sourcing and liberating these two elements would allow us to unleash much more of the hardware’s potential.
Simple, practical applications of having a free EC could include options such as custom remapping the keyboard or allowing user-customisable charging caps to conserve battery cycles, but shipping with a free EC also allows for more exiting prospects, such as fully exposing elements such as fan control to userspace. Perhaps most importantly, it creates much more transparency and enables the community to inspect, audit and fix bugs in the EC.
Coreboot is an equally critical addition for similar reasons, while also opening the door to HEADS being made available further long the line, thus massively improving security prospects.
Purism and System76 have already done a lot of the work needed to make this possible and have eliminated many barriers preventing framework from doing so. Their spirit of collaboration extends to Purism inheriting their custom open EC from System76 without any licencing or permission requirements. Framework has no excuse to not follow suit, the path has already been cleared.
Neutralising the Intel ME would also be nice, but we should limit the scope to Coreboot and an Open EC for now.
I hope framework takes this into consideration and does not forgo this massive opportunity.