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Coreboot Finally Takes The Interest Of OEMs

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  • Coreboot Finally Takes The Interest Of OEMs

    Phoronix: Coreboot Finally Takes The Interest Of OEMs

    Coreboot, the open-source (GPL-licensed) project to create an open-source BIOS replacement for motherboards is likely to see its first major deployment in late Q3 or early Q4 of this year...

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

  • #2
    Now we shall see if there's even more newer boards getting supported

    Comment


    • #3
      i think linux users don't use coreboot because they just simply don't care. first of all, it isn't hard to program your own bios chip if you know the language. the hardware to program eeprom and rom chips are relatively cheap. but also, if you buy a GOOD motherboard, you don't really need something like coreboot. why would i care to use an open source product when i'm forced to pay for the bios my mobo comes with and when that bios is proven to work great and allow me to utilize my hardware however i want? thats like saying you buy a leather chair and decide to put a pleather (plastic fake leather) cover over it. why bother buying something and completely change the intention of it?

      i would find coreboot to be particularly useful for OEM retail computers or cheap mobos that don't give you any options, but generally i'd find it a waste of time.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
        i think linux users don't use coreboot because they just simply don't care. first of all, it isn't hard to program your own bios chip if you know the language. the hardware to program eeprom and rom chips are relatively cheap. but also, if you buy a GOOD motherboard, you don't really need something like coreboot. why would i care to use an open source product when i'm forced to pay for the bios my mobo comes with and when that bios is proven to work great and allow me to utilize my hardware however i want? thats like saying you buy a leather chair and decide to put a pleather (plastic fake leather) cover over it. why bother buying something and completely change the intention of it?

        i would find coreboot to be particularly useful for OEM retail computers or cheap mobos that don't give you any options, but generally i'd find it a waste of time.
        when i try to enter bios setup my monitor goes out of sync. wonderful. and it's a classic bios i'm using here, designed for that very motherboard.

        coreboot supports all the components my mainboard has, but that doesn't mean it's supported. so i cannot use it yet, at least not without a backup bios chip (and dual bios solution doesn't work here)

        Comment


        • #5
          @Schmidtbag,

          That's a pretty wierd way of saying "Why would anyone care about Linux, if you pay for Windows that takes full advantage of your HW?".

          Don't you care about the way computers work? Don't you want to get rid of 640*480 8-16bit fugly post screens and 8 second DRM decypher method before seeing this fugly, long taking boot screen?

          Hell I care. I just don't care to risk trashing my perfectly fine laptop with software that's pretty much in an early child state. I can whipe Linux. I can't whipe my laptop BIOS.

          My desktop is another thing entirely (dual BIOS', one write protected). I might give that one a try when I can find the time for doing research.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
            i think linux users don't use coreboot because they just simply don't care. first of all, it isn't hard to program your own bios chip if you know the language. the hardware to program eeprom and rom chips are relatively cheap. but also, if you buy a GOOD motherboard, you don't really need something like coreboot. why would i care to use an open source product when i'm forced to pay for the bios my mobo comes with and when that bios is proven to work great and allow me to utilize my hardware however i want? thats like saying you buy a leather chair and decide to put a pleather (plastic fake leather) cover over it. why bother buying something and completely change the intention of it?

            i would find coreboot to be particularly useful for OEM retail computers or cheap mobos that don't give you any options, but generally i'd find it a waste of time.
            You're confusing quality with strategy, though in this particular case it's also about higher quality.

            The end user couldn't care less about his MB BIOS, much less about whether it's open source or not - you only get to benefit from Coreboot indirectly since it makes sure Microsoft (or anyone else) can't hijack the hw manufacturers into "improving" their BIOS standard to make it work "better" with windows (read "with window$ only"), M$ already employed such a strategy - google around if you don't know what I mean - so it's yet another type of trick every monopoly/corporation employs each time it can afford it.
            Thus the (larger) point of Coreboot is to make sure that Linux and other OSes compete on quality, without employing dodgy dirty deals with hw manufacturers, and if possible to simplify and unify the BIOS stuff/standard - neither of these points is interesting to the end user - but it _is_ to the industry at large.
            And of course M$ is not interested into this - hence the question - if windows won't support it - then what's the overall picture? Can coreboot survive without window$ supporting it?
            Last edited by cl333r; 06-03-2011, 02:30 AM.

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            • #7
              The OS can't see the entire RAM space. In that reserved RAM space, the BIOS code still stays and runs. The BIOS can read out the entire RAM and can actually send it over the internet. Yes it can.

              Stalking about a security hole... ho-ly-shit!

              So... Still think that Coreboot is a bad idea?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by V!NCENT View Post
                @Schmidtbag,

                Don't you want to get rid of 640*480 8-16bit fugly post screens [...]?
                Hell, yeah! I want to replace it with an RS232C interface. No kidding. I have an old Sun Ultra 10 workstation that can be configured and run entirely through a serial line.

                I alway set up my linux servers to be able to log in via serial. I used to be able to do this with LILO as well, but I don't have much success with GRUB. But it's not the same. If I have to tweak some BIOS setting I need display and keyboard.

                In any case, I wouldn't change my current BIOS with Coreboot even if it were available for my particular mainboard. I would consider buying a MB that comes with it, though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Why coreboot? Because proprietary firmware tends to be complete disaster!

                  Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                  i think linux users don't use coreboot because they just simply don't care.
                  Many of them do and it's not just "BSD/Linux/Solaris/whatever users". Wonder why?

                  Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                  if you buy a GOOD motherboard, you don't really need something like coreboot.
                  With all due respect, I suggest that you first educate yourself to the point where you can see just how "many" "GOOD motherboards" are really out there (at least as far as firmware is concerned).

                  Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                  why would i care to use an open source product when i'm forced to pay for the bios my mobo comes with and when that bios is proven to work great and allow me to utilize my hardware however i want?
                  Just Google around a little bit and you may find out that the push for free and open firmware has actually nothing to do with someone being unwilling to pay for the development of something that "is proven to work great and allows you to utilize your hardware however you want" or even free software zealots. You may not get the same search results that I did, but most of the links on the first couple of pages were actually about Windows having all sorts of trouble with broken firmware (especially horribly broken ACPI implementations).
                  In fact, most proprietary BIOSes have been proven to be doing almost everything except for working great and actually prevent you from utilizing your hardware however you want, simply because any software (including Windows) that assumes correct behavior of the firmware interface and doesn't include all sorts of ugly hacks to cope with the opposite usually utterly fails. Ever wondered why Windows fails miserably when you pull the drive and try booting it on a different machine (actually even different instance of otherwise hardware and firmware identical one with exactly the same BIOS settings, including so-called "safe" or "optimized" defaults)?
                  A clear example of misbehaving firmware is that my best friend has to disable and then re-enable integrated serial port controller with Windows hardware manager before he can use it to download readings from his data logger, because BIOS leaves that hardware in some insane state, where it can't be picked up by the OS at boot.

                  Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                  thats like saying you buy a leather chair and decide to put a pleather (plastic fake leather) cover over it. why bother buying something and completely change the intention of it?
                  No. Assuming that "the intention of it" is "it working properly" (and consequently the software running on it working properly), I don't see any parallelism between flashing firmware that actually works the way it's supposed to and buying quality stuff just to screw it up.

                  Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                  i would find coreboot to be particularly useful for OEM retail computers or cheap mobos that don't give you any options, but generally i'd find it a waste of time.
                  There's simply no comparison between coreboot and proprietary firmware when it comes to both performance and robustness. If it comes at the price the lacking certain options (SETUP), I'll gladly pay it; not to mention that it doesn't have to be that way.

                  Now, if you don't take my word for it (I wouldn't blame you):

                  This blog post actually isn't about firmware, but it contains the most important point:
                  Originally posted by Matthew Garrett
                  I was greatly relieved to discover that commercial software sucks just as much as Free software does, except I can't fix the bugs myself.

                  Yes, it is difficult to make software just work, damnit. That's why people are willing to pay programmers. Do your fucking job, you bastards
                  This article sums it up pretty good.
                  Here, here and here goes your "allows me to utilize my hardware however i want".
                  Here and here are another colorful blog posts describing various "qualities" of proprietary firmware.
                  It actually turns out that the proprietary firmware is such a piece of crap, that it usually can't get even the basics (such as making the machine reboot) right. Check the ACPI and EFI methods here.

                  So, where does that leave us?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                    i think linux users don't use coreboot because they just simply don't care. first of all, it isn't hard to program your own bios chip if you know the language. the hardware to program eeprom and rom chips are relatively cheap. but also, if you buy a GOOD motherboard, you don't really need something like coreboot. why would i care to use an open source product when i'm forced to pay for the bios my mobo comes with and when that bios is proven to work great and allow me to utilize my hardware however i want? thats like saying you buy a leather chair and decide to put a pleather (plastic fake leather) cover over it. why bother buying something and completely change the intention of it?

                    i would find coreboot to be particularly useful for OEM retail computers or cheap mobos that don't give you any options, but generally i'd find it a waste of time.
                    The thing is, most BIOSes don't work great. Most are pretty crap. Kernels have to do a lot of extra work to work around bugs in BIOSes - like the thing about trying to get a consistent reboot that came up a little while ago.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Windows 8

                      How exactly does coreboot boot other payloads? Does it show some "BIOS-interface" to the bootloaders/kernels?

                      Will it be able to boot f.ex. Windows 8 which is rumoured to only support UEFI? Can coreboot simply fake that or are there other possibilities?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                        i think linux users don't use coreboot because they just simply don't care.
                        That's probably the common reason, but don't forget that people don't want to break their boards by flashing it with something that might not work.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          reading some recent and older rants about acpi and stuff would it be possible for someone to implement a new ACPI replacement system in coreboot that would eliminate all the disadvantages/problems of ACPI?????

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 89c51 View Post
                            reading some recent and older rants about acpi and stuff would it be possible for someone to implement a new ACPI replacement system in coreboot that would eliminate all the disadvantages/problems of ACPI?????

                            Those rants are from back in the day when ACPI was dealt with in the BIOS, implementing the virtual machine in assembly, running alongside the OS and causing a 5% performance hit. Today ACPI lives in the Linux kernel itself.

                            Windows however seems to wage battles with it inside kernelspace with its own power management module.

                            And Windows 8 is bootable with the Windows 8 bootloader, which can be booted by GRUB2, which can be a Coreboot payload (yeah...).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Overheating protection, latency adjustment, Overclocking etc?

                              I'd happily replace my BIOS if there's any chance it would fix my desktops boot & suspend problems.
                              I have a Gigabyte 780G motherboard with a Phenom II 945; fortunately it has a backup bios chip. It has a 'sideport' 128 MB ram for the onboard graphics, but I'm using an ATI 4670 + Catalyst.
                              I have to use Gigabyte's Beta BIOS for the AM3 CPU to work. I'm not sure if it's related, but half the time the desktop hangs at Ubuntu's purple loading screen, & half the time I try to suspend it hangs with a black screen. Not sure if it's BIOS or USB.

                              The one thing I'd really like to know about coreboot is does it have any of the bells & whistles of proprietary BIOSes like setting RAM latencies, turning on/off extra fans, CPU PWM fan control, or especially - a warning sound if the CPU temp rises too far, & shutdown if a critical limit is exceeded? If it doesn't have those things, then coreboot seems to be very good at very little.

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