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An Effort Making An Open-Source Radeon Video BIOS

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  • An Effort Making An Open-Source Radeon Video BIOS

    Phoronix: An Effort Making An Open-Source Radeon Video BIOS

    OpenRadeonBIOS is a new open-source project seeking to create an open-source video BIOS for AMD/ATI Radeon graphics cards...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTQyMTg

  • #2
    What's the point?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mmstick View Post
      What's the point?
      First it cant hurt. 2nd NSA Scandal. could somebody say me if you coulld implement a nsa backdoor into such a firmware and 2nd question, if not, could you do it in a driver like the proprietary nvidia driverblob or the one from amd?

      and another question is it possible to hinder a bios to make tcp connections and send data?

      I would love to have a coreboot patched system but they are very rare, at the moment.


      And no I dont think the radeon firmware is a big problem. the one from intel is also closedsource. I dont get the big difference rms does about if its flashable or not... antifeatures could be in the initial firmware if its possible.

      I would love to hear something about it. I am no driver developer so I am not shure, I think a firmware of a grafic card should not be able to make the kernel send data into the internet right? could a full blob do that? could it have direct hw-access to other cards or something?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by blackiwid View Post
        First it cant hurt. 2nd NSA Scandal. could somebody say me if you coulld implement a nsa backdoor into such a firmware and 2nd question, if not, could you do it in a driver like the proprietary nvidia driverblob or the one from amd?

        and another question is it possible to hinder a bios to make tcp connections and send data?

        I would love to have a coreboot patched system but they are very rare, at the moment.


        And no I dont think the radeon firmware is a big problem. the one from intel is also closedsource. I dont get the big difference rms does about if its flashable or not... antifeatures could be in the initial firmware if its possible.

        I would love to hear something about it. I am no driver developer so I am not shure, I think a firmware of a grafic card should not be able to make the kernel send data into the internet right? could a full blob do that? could it have direct hw-access to other cards or something?
        And to add, it could new possibilities to enhance performance for amd/ati cards with free drivers on GNU/Linux and *BSD.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by blackiwid View Post
          First it cant hurt. 2nd NSA Scandal. could somebody say me if you coulld implement a nsa backdoor into such a firmware and 2nd question, if not, could you do it in a driver like the proprietary nvidia driverblob or the one from amd?

          and another question is it possible to hinder a bios to make tcp connections and send data?

          I would love to have a coreboot patched system but they are very rare, at the moment.


          And no I dont think the radeon firmware is a big problem. the one from intel is also closedsource. I dont get the big difference rms does about if its flashable or not... antifeatures could be in the initial firmware if its possible.

          I would love to hear something about it. I am no driver developer so I am not shure, I think a firmware of a grafic card should not be able to make the kernel send data into the internet right? could a full blob do that? could it have direct hw-access to other cards or something?
          None of that really sounds realistic to me. It's just a BIOS for a graphics card. It has nothing to do with anything other than 'basic input/out' functions for the card itself. The only reason I could think of for a custom BIOS is to enable disabled features (FireGL features on RadeonHD? They are literally the same cards). Or maybe a tool that allows you to create a custom BIOS with whatever voltages/frequencies you want. I still see no reason for this.
          Last edited by mmstick; 07-27-2013, 11:22 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            To scratch an itch or enforce their philosophy. Some random guy who may be doing something cool or not doesn't need a reason that you agree with or not.


            And again, something cool might come out of it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by blackiwid View Post
              First it cant hurt. 2nd NSA Scandal. could somebody say me if you coulld implement a nsa backdoor into such a firmware and 2nd question, if not, could you do it in a driver like the proprietary nvidia driverblob or the one from amd?
              When you run their code (the binary blob) you're running their code. That means if they wanted to, they could practically do anything given it is executed with root permissions which as far as I'm aware it is. I don't know about firmware. Anyone care to elaborate?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Edogaa View Post
                To scratch an itch or enforce their philosophy. Some random guy who may be doing something cool or not doesn't need a reason that you agree with or not.


                And again, something cool might come out of it.
                Why should the community care about someone's overzealous 'philosophy'; that sounds ridiculously absurd. There is nothing subjective about this. If there is no practical use for something, then it is worthless whether you agree with it or not.

                Something 'cool' can't really come of this since it's just a simple BIOS that anyone could hack themselves. It's not like untapped potential is hidden in GPU BIOS's. Hardware is released with BIOS's that make full use of all their capabilities as is. Motherboard BIOS's are the only thing that would be worthy of looking into since they handle a much more significant portion of control over hardware in the system (like RAM models, timings, CPU support, etc).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Proprietary BIOS mean that only owner can fix it.

                  PERIOD.

                  That mean, inability by 3rd party radeon contributors to fix (or even verify) bugs in BIOS.

                  That may or may not be a big problem here. (And lack of info about supported GPU also mean that we do not know if its solving any issues devs may encounter in new GPU's families)

                  PS Basic Input Output System is just a name. Hit the dock before you attach "simple" label...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So what does it do? Control fan speeds? Control which clock times are availabe to the drivers? If so, then this is useful. Examples of 3rd party vendors putting broken things on the gpu are seen often enough in this forum here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ChrisXY View Post
                      So what does it do? Control fan speeds? Control which clock times are availabe to the drivers? If so, then this is useful. Examples of 3rd party vendors putting broken things on the gpu are seen often enough in this forum here.
                      It does what firmware is suppose to do, which involves controlling all the components inside the GPU. If there were really such 'broken things' as you say there are, then why don't we see these 'broken things' on Windows? The very fact that BIOS updates are never given for GPUs is a testament that such things don't happen. The only 'broken things' I see on Linux are graphics drivers and proper OpenGL libraries.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think that open source firmware for network cards is at this moment more desireable. If firmware in network card have security bug, the whole PC can become fully controlled by attacker.
                        Quote from first Link:
                        I've finally found some time to study Loic Duflot's and Yves-Alexis Perez's recent presentation from the last month on remotely attacking network cards. You can get the slides here.

                        In short, they're exploiting a buffer overflow in the network card's firmware by sending malicious packets to the card, and then they gain full control over the card's firmware, so they can e.g. issue DMA to/from the host memory, effectively fully controlling the host (that's another example of "Ring -3 rootkit" I would say). The buffer overflow is in some exotic management protocol (that I think is disabled by default, but that's irrelevant) implemented by the NIC's firmware (the NIC has its own RISC processor, and memory, and stack, which they overflow, etc.).

                        http://theinvisiblethings.blogspot.c...ds-or-why.html
                        http://www.ssi.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/csw-trustnetworkcard.pdf

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mmstick View Post
                          Why should the community care about someone's overzealous 'philosophy'; that sounds ridiculously absurd. There is nothing subjective about this. If there is no practical use for something, then it is worthless whether you agree with it or not.

                          Something 'cool' can't really come of this since it's just a simple BIOS that anyone could hack themselves. It's not like untapped potential is hidden in GPU BIOS's. Hardware is released with BIOS's that make full use of all their capabilities as is. Motherboard BIOS's are the only thing that would be worthy of looking into since they handle a much more significant portion of control over hardware in the system (like RAM models, timings, CPU support, etc).
                          If anybody could just 'hack it themselves' then it would have been long done. Look at your history, RadeonHD driver, where it was proposed to use the registers directly without Atombios. RadeonHD didn't evolve vast enough (much harder) and people didn't really care for it. But that's with a lot of things in life, Usually things that are 'better', be it technically or ethically, get little support. Sad, but true.

                          It does what firmware is suppose to do, which involves controlling all the components inside the GPU. If there were really such 'broken things' as you say there are, then why don't we see these 'broken things' on Windows? The very fact that BIOS updates are never given for GPUs is a testament that such things don't happen. The only 'broken things' I see on Linux are graphics drivers and proper OpenGL libraries.
                          Ok that's just the most stupidest answer here. Because they do work around in their catalyst drivers? DUH. Really. Duh. They can re-implement the entire bios in software to fix anything simply because a) they know how the hardware works, b) know what to expect from the bios and if not, do it in software anyway.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Quote from first link:
                            I've finally found some time to study Loic Duflot's and Yves-Alexis Perez's recent presentation from the last month on remotely attacking network cards. You can get the slides here.

                            In short, they're exploiting a buffer overflow in the network card's firmware by sending malicious packets to the card, and then they gain full control over the card's firmware, so they can e.g. issue DMA to/from the host memory, effectively fully controlling the host (that's another example of "Ring -3 rootkit" I would say). The buffer overflow is in some exotic management protocol (that I think is disabled by default, but that's irrelevant) implemented by the NIC's firmware (the NIC has its own RISC processor, and memory, and stack, which they overflow, etc.).
                            "Remotely Attacking Network Cards (or why we do need VT-d and TXT)" by Joanna Rutkowska
                            http://theinvisiblethings.blogspot.c...ds-or-why.html

                            "Can you still trust your network card?" by Loc Duflot, Yves-Alexis Perez, Guillaume Valadon, Olivier Levillain.
                            http://www.ssi.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/csw-trustnetworkcard.pdf

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by oliver View Post
                              If anybody could just 'hack it themselves' then it would have been long done. Look at your history, RadeonHD driver, where it was proposed to use the registers directly without Atombios. RadeonHD didn't evolve vast enough (much harder) and people didn't really care for it. But that's with a lot of things in life, Usually things that are 'better', be it technically or ethically, get little support. Sad, but true.


                              Ok that's just the most stupidest answer here. Because they do work around in their catalyst drivers? DUH. Really. Duh. They can re-implement the entire bios in software to fix anything simply because a) they know how the hardware works, b) know what to expect from the bios and if not, do it in software anyway.
                              It is done.....you can simply hack an existing BIOS to change the clocks/voltages to be permanent in the firmware itself rather than using software to overclock after booting. Some enthusiast PC gamers do this sort of thing. RadeonHD driver? That obsolete open source Linux driver? Stupid? You mean your attitude which is the stupidest thing in this forum? Do you have any proof of your last statement whatsoever? You can't just 'reimplement a BIOS in software'. The BIOS is there to stay in the middle between the GPU and the driver. All communications have to go through this BIOS, else there wouldn't be much point in making a BIOS. Do you really think multibillion dollar companies would have their products running on dysfunctional BIOSs?

                              Comment

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