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  • Coreboot Sandy/Ivy Bridge Gains Native RAM Initialization

    Phoronix: Coreboot Sandy/Ivy Bridge Gains Native RAM Initialization

    The latest addition to Coreboot is native RAM initialization support for Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge families...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTc1MTU

  • #2
    Originally posted by phoronix View Post
    Phoronix: Coreboot Sandy/Ivy Bridge Gains Native RAM Initialization

    The latest addition to Coreboot is native RAM initialization support for Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge families...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTc1MTU
    why is the comment page sometimes off
    and what is actally native RAM init? How does it differ from AMD systems?

    Comment


    • #3
      But the real question is

      Which hardware is actually supported by coreboot?
      I wish I could boot my netbooks, notebooks and a couple of servers by HP off coreboot.
      But so far, there is almost nothing currently in the market I can install it to.
      So why all this interest in coreboot?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Uqbar View Post
        Which hardware is actually supported by coreboot?
        I wish I could boot my netbooks, notebooks and a couple of servers by HP off coreboot.
        But so far, there is almost nothing currently in the market I can install it to.
        So why all this interest in coreboot?
        The interest in coreboot stems from the dream of a fully FOSS system. It's a FOSS replacement for what is usually a proprietary component in computers. Even if it doesn't have widespread hardware support, it's an interesting project, especially for FOSS enthusiasts.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Plombo View Post
          The interest in coreboot stems from the dream of a fully FOSS system. It's a FOSS replacement for what is usually a proprietary component in computers. Even if it doesn't have widespread hardware support, it's an interesting project, especially for FOSS enthusiasts.
          ... Just like a project about coding a new OS for the PDP-11.
          It'd be as interesting as useless but for those who own actual working hardware.
          I wouldn't ad such a project on Phoronix!
          This is just my opinion, of course.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Uqbar View Post
            ... Just like a project about coding a new OS for the PDP-11.
            It'd be as interesting as useless but for those who own actual working hardware.
            I wouldn't ad such a project on Phoronix!
            This is just my opinion, of course.
            I sure would, we can thank Michael for that.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jakubo View Post
              why is the comment page sometimes off
              and what is actally native RAM init? How does it differ from AMD systems?
              Before intel or google provided a binary program that was jumped into to initialize RAM.

              AMD pedged support for AM3 chipsets and later, so all of them should already be native, AFIAK.

              Comment


              • #8
                What I hate about x86? BIOS/UEFI in first place.

                Here we can see how sucking proprietary software could be. Just one example: my computer's BIOS would hang if you press someything on USB keyboard between BIOS logo disappearance and boot loader start. The issue is that boot loaders (GRUB included) are often invoked by holding some key or combo. In GRUB you have to hit shift before it starts and it would show you extended menu rather than booting quickly. The prob? BIOS would lock up in 50% of cases or so. Hit shift half-second too early? Now press reset, dude and try again. Needless to say, this annoying bug will never get fixed. And everyone else can't try to fix that bug because its blob-only. So proprietary BIOS is really worst part of my x86 system. If it sounds not too scary, there is brand new UEFI and of course it is binary-only as well and also often offers you some "protection" known as secure boot. It "protects" you from installing systems not signed by M$, making it far from trivial and granting MS exclusive control over x86 platform. Really crappy state of things, to say the least. Hopefully it explains why some people started to prefer opensource solutions :-).

                I hope to live long enough to see my primary computer booting fully opensourced stack, beginning with early boot loaders. Its already here on ARM boards with things like u-boot, but x86 is really bad at this regard to the date.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 0xBADCODE View Post
                  Here we can see how sucking proprietary software could be. Just one example: my computer's BIOS would hang if you press someything on USB keyboard between BIOS logo disappearance and boot loader start. The issue is that boot loaders (GRUB included) are often invoked by holding some key or combo. In GRUB you have to hit shift before it starts and it would show you extended menu rather than booting quickly. The prob? BIOS would lock up in 50% of cases or so. Hit shift half-second too early? Now press reset, dude and try again. Needless to say, this annoying bug will never get fixed. And everyone else can't try to fix that bug because its blob-only. So proprietary BIOS is really worst part of my x86 system. If it sounds not too scary, there is brand new UEFI and of course it is binary-only as well and also often offers you some "protection" known as secure boot. It "protects" you from installing systems not signed by M$, making it far from trivial and granting MS exclusive control over x86 platform. Really crappy state of things, to say the least. Hopefully it explains why some people started to prefer opensource solutions :-).

                  I hope to live long enough to see my primary computer booting fully opensourced stack, beginning with early boot loaders. Its already here on ARM boards with things like u-boot, but x86 is really bad at this regard to the date.
                  Not exactly true. UEFI BIOS is great beacuse it lets your system fast boot, provides additional security against boot sector viruses for casual users.
                  UEFI BIOS was also needed because all modern hard drives require GPT partitioning instead of MBR. Without UEFI you can't boot from a GPT disk and you'd need some old MBR disk for booting.
                  Additionally computer hardware has got very complex. It's not possible to have 64 kB BIOSes anymore, modern UEFI BIOS is tens of megabytes.
                  UEFI BIOS can also support wider variety of hardware. Such as GPU accelerated fullhd video, bluetooth devices out of the box. For example all Mac owners know how great it is that you can install OS from scratch and have only bluetooth devices. Same thing on PC. Plug your bluetooth dongle in and start setting up Windows installer on UEFI BIOS. Bluetooth HID is a standard so it just works. Old legacy x86 BIOS didn't necessarily even support usb keyboard, only ps/2.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by caligula View Post
                    Not exactly true. UEFI BIOS is great beacuse it lets your system fast boot, provides additional security against boot sector viruses for casual users.
                    UEFI BIOS was also needed because all modern hard drives require GPT partitioning instead of MBR. Without UEFI you can't boot from a GPT disk and you'd need some old MBR disk for booting.
                    Additionally computer hardware has got very complex. It's not possible to have 64 kB BIOSes anymore, modern UEFI BIOS is tens of megabytes.
                    UEFI BIOS can also support wider variety of hardware. Such as GPU accelerated fullhd video, bluetooth devices out of the box. For example all Mac owners know how great it is that you can install OS from scratch and have only bluetooth devices. Same thing on PC. Plug your bluetooth dongle in and start setting up Windows installer on UEFI BIOS. Bluetooth HID is a standard so it just works. Old legacy x86 BIOS didn't necessarily even support usb keyboard, only ps/2.


                    Secure boot on x86 need to have an off switch to qualify for microsft windows 8 ready or OEM certification. Then you can use the UEFI loader program to jump right into a linux kernel, or windows, or Grub ... Most of the issues in jumping into something other than windows are caused by improper implementation of the UEFI loader by the BIOS vendor (bad vendor code is nothing new and is probably the best argument for the need for OSS firmware)


                    UEFI drivers are nice, but should we really trust a newtorking stack in a proprietary BLOB that we can't modify.

                    UEFI is huge, and not yet fully tested. It does thing BIOS couldn't do, but perhaps that's too much..

                    TianoCore is the BSD licensed reference implementation of UEFI, but lacks the drivers needed to actually boot any system.

                    GPT/MBR is just a formatting choice, if the disk has nothing you need to save, conversion is trivial, and most people don't hit the limitations of MBR format anyways. There are also hydrid formats that look like MBR to the bootloader and GPT to the OS.

                    BIOS sucks and needs replaced, but I think UEFI was the wrong way to go. It tries to be everything for everyone, rather then the simple conduit between power off and hardware ready that it should be. Coreboot-Grub is fast, and if you dare try it Coreboot->Kernel is on the fastest boots you can have. UEFI->Kernel is pretty dang fast as well, but should I really trust it?
                    Last edited by WorBlux; 07-29-2014, 11:15 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by caligula View Post
                      Not exactly true. UEFI BIOS is great beacuse it lets your system fast boot
                      "UEFI" boots systems fast because the fast path bypasses about 90% of UEFI.

                      We were able to do that with coreboot in 2006, and PC BIOS could also have done it, if they had cared enough to implement it.

                      Originally posted by caligula View Post
                      , provides additional security against boot sector viruses for casual users.
                      UEFI Secure Boot is mostly concerned about closing the holes UEFI cut into system security in the first place.

                      There was also Phoenix Trusted BIOS, and coreboot does verified boots since 2008, longer than UEFI Secure Boot. Again, they're followers, not leaders.

                      Originally posted by caligula View Post
                      UEFI BIOS was also needed because all modern hard drives require GPT partitioning instead of MBR. Without UEFI you can't boot from a GPT disk and you'd need some old MBR disk for booting.
                      It would have been trivial to extend BIOS to support GPT. In fact, that's what GRUB2 on i386-pc indirectly does on GPT disks.

                      Originally posted by caligula View Post
                      Additionally computer hardware has got very complex. It's not possible to have 64 kB BIOSes anymore, modern UEFI BIOS is tens of megabytes.
                      The real "meat" for hardware initialization is 700kb or so (as determined by a coreboot build for modern hardware). Everything more than that must be UEFI bloat.

                      Originally posted by caligula View Post
                      UEFI BIOS can also support wider variety of hardware. Such as GPU accelerated fullhd video, bluetooth devices out of the box. For example all Mac owners know how great it is that you can install OS from scratch and have only bluetooth devices. Same thing on PC. Plug your bluetooth dongle in and start setting up Windows installer on UEFI BIOS. Bluetooth HID is a standard so it just works.
                      Bluetooth HID is a standard, bluetooth USB dongles - not so much. Even where there are USB standards (eg. the USB mass storage class), some hardware vendors prefer to do their own thing. All you introduce with UEFI drivers is _yet_ another set of drivers that need to handle all those quirks.

                      Sane solution? Boot into Linux (or Windows Embedded, if you're a Wintel-proponent), use its drivers, and once the real system is to be booted, kexec out of the running OS. Instead we got that UEFI crap forced upon us, where just as it gains popularity in the market, they have to start adding hacks (such as UEFI Secure Boot) to fix the biggest issues of an architecture they want to keep alive for the next 30 years or so.

                      Originally posted by caligula View Post
                      Old legacy x86 BIOS didn't necessarily even support usb keyboard, only ps/2.
                      That is, old legacy x86 BIOS from times when there was no USB?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The problem with UEFI...

                        As a repair technician, let me describe what I feel is the worst outcome with UEFI: It isn't microsoft locking you out of running Linux (though it can complicate it) - the real problem for us is diagnostic tools that require legacy BIOS boot mode to run and UEFI systems that no longer allow it at all.

                        Need to reset a password on a newer win8 machine? Good luck booting ntpasswd.

                        Want to run hiren's boot CD for chkdsk? yeah, about that...

                        Freedos for updating drive firmware, etc? Try again.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BradN View Post
                          As a repair technician, let me describe what I feel is the worst outcome with UEFI: It isn't microsoft locking you out of running Linux (though it can complicate it) - the real problem for us is diagnostic tools that require legacy BIOS boot mode to run and UEFI systems that no longer allow it at all.

                          Need to reset a password on a newer win8 machine? Good luck booting ntpasswd.

                          Want to run hiren's boot CD for chkdsk? yeah, about that...

                          Freedos for updating drive firmware, etc? Try again.
                          YMMV, but I've bought several Sandy Bridge / Ivy Bridge / Haswell boards and they all support legacy boot mode. So yes, you can boot DOS, but they've disabled booting from USB CD/DVD drives. Mass storage sticks and hard drives work though. And internal SATA DVD drives.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by caligula View Post
                            YMMV, but I've bought several Sandy Bridge / Ivy Bridge / Haswell boards and they all support legacy boot mode. So yes, you can boot DOS, but they've disabled booting from USB CD/DVD drives. Mass storage sticks and hard drives work though. And internal SATA DVD drives.
                            I've only seen one machine that didn't support legacy boot yet (that I'm aware of and that we had to try booting other media on): I believe it was a toshiba laptop.

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