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AMD To Support Coreboot On All Future CPUs

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Ex-Cyber View Post
    Also, even if you totally hose the firmware, most boards have some way to recover. It might take some stuff found on the bench of the average electronics geek rather than the bench of the average PC geek, but nothing too exotic.
    Indeed. The bios is merely stored on an spi flash rom chip (last one I tried was 16Mbit). All one needs is a device that can communicate over spi connect the pins and you're good to go.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by locovaca View Post
      Oh really?
      Yeah really... because they don't have the manpower to hack at the bolts while also reverse engineering as-of-yet unsupported chipsets.

      They also lack the RESOURCES to buy up at least one of every mainboard ever manufactured. So tell me, how exactly do you expect them to test everything?

      I suggest to you that even UNSUPPORTED mainboards may actually WORK, at least in some cases.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by locovaca View Post
        What "big motherboard vendor" has adopted coreboot? Nobody I know of to date. If you're referring to AMD, AMD doesn't make consumer nor server motherboards.
        Big motherboard vendors PAY LOTS OF MONEY for their proprietary junk bioses. If a free open source alternative exists, who wouldn't jump for it?

        Coreboot (and LinuxBios) has been around since '99. In 12 years they haven't had anything remotely close to a usable release. Coreboot (LinuxBios) v1 hung around for a while, then they started the v2 line which went nowhere, then v3 came out and now that's deprecated as a "development branch" in lieu of v4.
        So? Linux has been around since 1992, and in those NINETEEN YEARS, they went through version 1.everything, 2.0, 2.2, 2.4, and are finally levelling out on 2.6, and yet it hadn't made a serious dent in the overall operating system usage until about 2 years ago somewhere high up in 2.6 -- what happened with all those older versions that never went anywhere, huh? Now, practically every embedded system you can buy runs Linux. You think that MS has a big market share? There is Linux running on 10 times as many devices as MS now... and that all happened in the last couple of years!

        Your microwave may run Linux. Chances are that your home broadband router runs linux. You have a DVR? Linux. Anything else plugged into your TV? Probably Linux. Your TV itself? Probably runs Linux.

        It takes time for things to get into the "ready state". Just because it wasn't an instant success doesn't mean that it won't take over eventually.

        You remember when EEEPC first came out? Right. One of the very first mass produced consumer computers to run Linux. And that was VERY recent.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by d4ddi0 View Post
          I wonder what the per-unit savings (if any) would be for a motherboard manufacturer to switch from Phoenix or ... whoever else is left in the bios business.
          I'm wondering whether the decision to stay with traditional BIOS is financial, or if they are just risk averse, since they have something that works for the majority of their customers.
          Like a lot of things, the benefits would be cumulative, as motherboard advances are mostly incremental, other than the occasional major CPU/bus changes.
          Before you can switch, there needs to be something to SWITCH TO.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
            Yeah really... because they don't have the manpower to hack at the bolts while also reverse engineering as-of-yet unsupported chipsets.

            They also lack the RESOURCES to buy up at least one of every mainboard ever manufactured. So tell me, how exactly do you expect them to test everything?

            I suggest to you that even UNSUPPORTED mainboards may actually WORK, at least in some cases.
            So how many untested and unsupported boards are you offering to flash?

            I have several boards with soldered rom chips. Am I volunteering one in hopes that it doesn't render the board useless? No. Has this project rendered boards useless in the past? Yes.

            Coreboot does not list anywhere to send donations, either of hardware or of a financial nature. So a lack of resources is certainly of their own doing in that regard.

            Big motherboard vendors PAY LOTS OF MONEY for their proprietary junk bioses. If a free open source alternative exists, who wouldn't jump for it?
            Because FOSS is not Free to Big Motherboard Vendors. They will require paid support and people to fix stuff if crap breaks. Coreboot will need to adopt a Redhat or MySQL support model for anyone to take them serious enough to offer only Coreboot on their boards.

            A diatribe about how Linux is taking over the world
            When I installed Redhat in the 90's it didn't fry my rom chips nor render my computer unusable. When it failed to work with my hardware I simply reinstalled Windows.

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            • #36
              RedHat in the 90's might have fried your monitor

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Nobu View Post
                ...if only "all future CPUs" also meant "all future motherboards".

                Unfortunately, they can only support their CPUs and GPUs, since they have no control over what others decide to put on their motherboards. I don't blame AMD, it's not their fault, but it sure is frustrating.
                Really? They supply them with chipsets, and allow them to make the boards, so they can easily say "Support this, or forget about making boards for our products" if they want to. Intel required EFI support for Sandy Bridge, so I think AMD could do the same.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by locovaca View Post
                  When you have notes like this:

                  "This board is very pick about what ROM chips it can use and it will fry any chip that doesn't work."

                  then your project is no where near release for anything close to enthusiast, let alone mainstream.
                  No, it only means the motherboard vendors need the tweak it for their board (and release that code). A stock Award/Phoenix/AMI BIOS needs the same type of adjustments to the specific hardware as CoreBoot does. (Actually, it should also be possible to use those BIOS'es as a payload for CoreBoot.)

                  And imagine AMD releasing a CoreBoot SDK together with the reference boards for their chipsets, that would make it even easier (and maybe cheaper?) for the OEMs.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by 89c51 View Post
                    i've read the wiki and the coreboot page and fail to see any benefits as a "typical" user
                    • Faster boot.
                    • Use your favourite bootloader as a payload, so the Windows installer can't overwriting it anymore.
                    • Load emulation for IBM PC BIOS, OpenFirmware, EFI, etc. when needed.
                    • Protection against (some) rootkits built into the "BIOS" payload.
                    • System check utilities (e.g. memtest86) integrated into the "BIOS". (I can also imagine some special tools to pop up for overclockers & such to test/optimise their system.)
                    • Rescue system in the "BIOS".
                    • Integrate simple games into the "BIOS". (Imagine CoreBoot Solitaire booting in 1 second, that would be a killer app! )
                    • Etc.

                    Basically: your imagination is the limit!

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                    • #40
                      Forcing coreboot on OEMs is not AMD's style. The coreboot support for a reference platform already contains most of the work needed to port coreboot to a particular motherboard. From there, the coreboot community can quickly add support for new motherboards if they have motivation and access to the hardware. It happened e.g. with the ASRock E350M1.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by chithanh View Post
                        Forcing coreboot on OEMs is not AMD's style. The coreboot support for a reference platform already contains most of the work needed to port coreboot to a particular motherboard. From there, the coreboot community can quickly add support for new motherboards if they have motivation and access to the hardware. It happened e.g. with the ASRock E350M1.
                        I guess not, but AMD will have done the majority of the work, so the OEMs won't have to even do as much as with an existing BIOS. And the BIOS would be less work than an UEFI. And I doubt they'll want to go very long with the old BIOS when Intel has UEFI.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by JanC View Post
                          Faster boot.
                          Sure
                          Use your favourite bootloader as a payload, so the Windows installer can't overwriting it anymore.
                          Not an issue for most users.
                          Load emulation for IBM PC BIOS, OpenFirmware, EFI, etc. when needed.
                          And for an end user, running BIOS or an emulator running BIOS doesn't really matter.
                          Protection against (some) rootkits built into the "BIOS" payload.
                          Links please.
                          System check utilities (e.g. memtest86) integrated into the "BIOS". (I can also imagine some special tools to pop up for overclockers & such to test/optimise their system.)
                          Not very useful for an end user. Memtest86, sure, but what other system check utilities that'll fit into a rom chip exist?
                          Rescue system in the "BIOS".
                          You know how big BIOS is, right? How are you fitting anything close to a rescue system in a 1 or 2 megabyte image?

                          Integrate simple games into the "BIOS". (Imagine CoreBoot Solitaire booting in 1 second, that would be a killer app! )
                          Yes, because this has proven successful when attempted by other manufactures. Dell had laptops that played music from your hard drive from BIOS. Several motherboards had the embedded Linux with a web browser in BIOS-ish. Nobody cared.

                          Coreboot might be interesting for the enthusiast or code hacker. Coreboot is literally nothing to an end user. To dive into the car analogies, BIOS is the oil filter. Most of your population doesn't care what brand or type is down there as long as they can go placed.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by locovaca View Post
                            Not an issue for most users.
                            Ask an office worker how long it takes to boot up his/her workstation.

                            You know how big BIOS is, right? How are you fitting anything close to a rescue system in a 1 or 2 megabyte image?
                            It's variable. Mine has Firefox in it, next to the BIOS. Also didn't DOS fit on a floppy?

                            Yes, because this has proven successful when attempted by other manufactures. Dell had laptops that played music from your hard drive from BIOS. Several motherboards had the embedded Linux with a web browser in BIOS-ish. Nobody cared.
                            True. But why waste time with going though a shitload of checks when nobody cares about DOS? And if they care they can put DOS in there; not needing a stupid floppy. Bloat is bad. Clean implementations are generaly good.

                            Coreboot might be interesting for the enthusiast or code hacker. Coreboot is literally nothing to an end user. To dive into the car analogies, BIOS is the oil filter. Most of your population doesn't care what brand or type is down there as long as they can go placed.
                            Why do people care about Apple? Because it hides the technology. Now how pretty is that post srceen of yours? Why not eliminate the need for a post screen and boot straight into a boatloader that has a Linux kernel with KMS in the BIOS?

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by V!NCENT View Post
                              Ask an office worker how long it takes to boot up his/her workstation.
                              My work laptop with Win 7 takes 30 seconds from POST to the Login screen. It takes 8 minutes from password entry to a workable desktop. POST and BIOS is the least of my concerns; it takes 4 seconds to POST. That's not even 1% of my total startup time.

                              It's variable. Mine has Firefox in it, next to the BIOS. Also didn't DOS fit on a floppy?

                              True. But why waste time with going though a shitload of checks when nobody cares about DOS? And if they care they can put DOS in there; not needing a stupid floppy. Bloat is bad. Clean implementations are generaly good.
                              I don't need DOS in a BIOS. Nobody needs DOS in a BIOS. DOS needs to die. Restore partitions work well enough for the average consumer; optical media is the backup should a total hard drive failure occur. None of this should be the worry of the code which is simply to bring up devices to a workable state.

                              Why do people care about Apple? Because it hides the technology. Now how pretty is that post srceen of yours? Why not eliminate the need for a post screen and boot straight into a boatloader that has a Linux kernel with KMS in the BIOS?
                              Some BIOS supports full screen logos in lieu of a nitty-gritty POST message. All the main manufacturers do this. And even then, they are very quick. My Acer C2D posts in 2 seconds. The difference between 2 seconds and 1 second is barely noticeable. You're splitting hairs at this point.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by locovaca View Post
                                My work laptop with Win 7 takes 30 seconds from POST to the Login screen. It takes 8 minutes from password entry to a workable desktop. POST and BIOS is the least of my concerns; it takes 4 seconds to POST. That's not even 1% of my total startup time.
                                Then your work laptop is special. My desktop at home gets from login to usable desktop (Win7 64-bit) in 30 seconds (with my few auto-loaded programs fully ready). Is your machine force-launching a re-index or virus scan every startup? Are network mounts timing out and confusing explorer while they wait? 8 minutes to a usable machine is not normal.

                                Originally posted by locovaca View Post
                                I don't need DOS in a BIOS. Nobody needs DOS in a BIOS. DOS needs to die. Restore partitions work well enough for the average consumer; optical media is the backup should a total hard drive failure occur. None of this should be the worry of the code which is simply to bring up devices to a workable state.
                                I can definitely say that I wouldn't mind having a partition manager, drive imager, and maybe some form of file manager/virus scanner that could be launched from outside of an OS. Even if I had to load the virus definitions from a thumb drive, it could be very useful when attempting to rescue a system which has trashed itself (or a family member infected the machine and it falls to me to clean it up).

                                Originally posted by locovaca View Post
                                Some BIOS supports full screen logos in lieu of a nitty-gritty POST message. All the main manufacturers do this. And even then, they are very quick. My Acer C2D posts in 2 seconds. The difference between 2 seconds and 1 second is barely noticeable. You're splitting hairs at this point.
                                Your computer may post in 2 seconds, but mine takes about 15 before I hit the boot loader (almost half of which is due to the hardware-RAID card). Considering that I often have to sit in front of the computer to make sure that the correct OS is selected for boot, that's 15 seconds that I could be heading to the coffee maker to get a pot of coffee started. Yeah, it's only once or twice a day, but it's still annoying.

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