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Flashing Your BIOS From The Linux Desktop

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  • Flashing Your BIOS From The Linux Desktop

    Phoronix: Flashing Your BIOS From The Linux Desktop

    Linux hardware support has improved a great deal over the past few years, but there are still a few troubled spots. With computer motherboards, for instance, the core functionality is generally there and most consumer motherboards will "just work" with the latest desktop Linux distributions out there. Where users though can run into problems are with the ancillary features. Motherboard manufacturers usually bundle proprietary software with their products that allow monitoring of hardware sensors, flashing of the motherboard BIOS, and overclocking all from within the Windows operating system. With the exception of LM_Sensors providing some sensors support, this is a grey area for Linux. Fortunately, however, the folks working on the CoreBoot project have developed a program that will near universally allow you to flash your motherboard's BIOS from within the Linux desktop.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=13794

  • #2
    A wonderful thing to bring to the attention of the community. Thanks Michael.

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    • #3
      This is so great

      Flashing from Windows is totally crap and dangerous, and depends on the company behind the motherboard. If this tool works reliable, this would make things easier for Linux users than for Windows users I'll try it out once the v1.0 release appears.

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      • #4
        This is indeed great news although many modern mainboards now have a flashing tool integrated on a static part of the BIOS.

        But still ... it's good for remote BIOS flashing and updating old boxes.

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        • #5
          Hmm. I'm not a big fan of flashing your BIOS while an operating system is running on top of it either. If you have any kind of power management running chances are pretty good that there are occasional calls into the BIOS happening... and if one of those calls happens while the BIOS ROM is blank, that would be a problem.

          I wouldn't flash the BIOS under any OS unless I already had a recovery plan - either a disk or a shadow BIOS stored in the flash.

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          • #6
            My BIOS can flash itself using a file from a USB stick but still, this is cool. No way I'm gonna flash mine again though. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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            • #7
              Well, novice users usually take whatever the website tells them. And in most cases that's a Windows flash tool.

              Me, I either use a boot CD to flash it (most vendors offer bootable ISOs) or (for the mobos that support it) I flash it through the BIOS itself using a USB stick. Much, much safer.

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              • #8
                Having not had to flash my bios with Linux yet, I had been wondering for quite a while how I would do it if I needed to.

                This is very exciting if you ask me.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by GreatWalrus View Post
                  Having not had to flash my bios with Linux yet, I had been wondering for quite a while how I would do it if I needed to.
                  Using the method described in the post just above yours :P

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                    Using the method described in the post just above yours :P
                    Yes, but I said I had been wondering how I would do it. So now I know of multiple ways.

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                    • #11
                      Well, reading the experiences of the users here I'm quite happy my laptop manufacturer provided a bootable FreeDOS image to upgrade the BIOS. Since following that path wasn't a problem I used it.

                      OTOH if I was on a netbook (no optical drive) and was offered a choice between run-time Windows utility and a CD image with freedos, I'd probably explore this flashrom utility to avoid reboots.

                      What I want to know though - does it handle only motherboards or is it useful for CD/DVD burners/HDDs etc.? Basically, how do I "mtkflash" under Linux?

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                      • #12
                        Something like this would be also great for flashing CD/DVD drives and HDD firmware..definitely should be worth adding such features. Definitely a must for those machines without a floppy or a CD/DVD drive

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                        • #13
                          Yeah. This is such a treat for my eyes. To finally see coreboot getting REALITY. I followed the project when it was still LinuxBios from time to time but besides a few Tyan boards nothing would work, sometimes the project seemed abandoned. But with all that embedded stuff and generally more Linux request in the world there is so much neat stuff now... LinuxBIOS for many Boards and now also to have a utility which will soon be able to do a flash job on so many BIOS media. AWESOME! I really appreciate this project.
                          I mean, okay, as long there could be FreeDOS used, or when you had a BIOS built in flash routine which would work system independently it wouldn't be that much of a problem but still it is a great development. I mean, not every board is Gigabyte or Asus in-bios-flasheable or not every vendor supports a DOS flashing utility. (though I would never buy anything that would be windows only)
                          I guess it will also be helpful on laptops or netbooks in case you don't have an internal/external floppy or such.

                          And imagine flashing all that other firmware... yet I had to use Windows to make my DVD region free.

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                          • #14
                            Flashing a kernel directly to BIOS

                            Just wondering, how feasible is it to flash a BIOS with some ROM form of a linux kernel and initrd?

                            Is there a project that offers something like this?

                            Well it seems it is possible... http://www.hermann-uwe.de/blog/linux...y-in-flash-rom
                            Last edited by markc; 05-04-2009, 09:53 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Let me share a cool trick, if you often have to reprogram a flash

                              http://www.coreboot.org/File:Pushpin_roms_2.jpg

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