1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Flashing Your Motherboard BIOS From The Linux Desktop

Michael Larabel

Published on 4 May 2009
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 1 - 47 Comments

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.

The Flashrom utility is developed by the CoreBoot project (formerly known as LinuxBIOS) as a way to read, write, erase, and verify flash ROM chips. Flashrom has been in development for quite a while (nearly a decade), but now they have finally come out with a version 0.9.0 release and soon expect to reach a 1.0 status. This utility supports nearly every x86 motherboard after having worked on support for over 150 flash chip families (and many various for each family), 75 different chipsets, workarounds for non-standard motherboards, and there is no need for CD-ROM or floppy disk.

Previously Linux users have had to create an MS-DOS or FreeDOS boot disk and then run a proprietary DOS-based BIOS flashing program, but it is now becoming easy and universally supported to flash the BIOS from your desktop. Flashrom can also flash a BIOS perfectly fine over SSH or through other means as long as there is root access. Flashrom also supports cross-flashing and hot-flashing.

While Flashrom 0.9 is a great step for free software and Linux hardware support, Carl-Daniel Hailfinger shared with us that they already have plenty of "exciting code" they plan to merge for the 1.0 release and it should end up being a "truly marvelous" release. At this time, Flashrom is CLI-based with no GUI, but the options are simple to backup a BIOS image, erase a BIOS chip, and to flash the BIOS with a new image.

Besides supporting Linux, Flashrom is also supported under FreeBSD, DragonflyBSD, OpenSolaris, and Mac OS X. More information on the Flashrom program is available from the Coreboot web-site.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Acer B286HK: A 28-inch UHD LED 4K Monitor For As Low As $350
  2. Intel Xeon E5-1680 v3 & E5-2687W v3 Compared To The Core i7 5960X On Linux
  3. Intel 120GB 530 Series SSD Linux Performance
  4. Btrfs/EXT4/XFS/F2FS RAID 0/1/5/6/10 Linux Benchmarks On Four SSDs
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Mesa Git Yields Performance Improvements For Newer AMD GPUs
  2. Apple OS X 10.10 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 Performance
  3. Mesa 10.5-devel Brings Some Intel Haswell HD Graphics Changes Over Mesa 10.3
  4. NVIDIA vs. Nouveau Drivers With Linux 3.18 + Mesa 10.4-devel
Latest Linux News
  1. Wine 1.7.32 Updates Its Mono Engine
  2. Mesa 10.4 Release Candidate 3 Is Here For Weekend Testing
  3. GenodeOS 14.11 Now Supports Intel's Wireless Hardware
  4. Jolla Tablet Could Have Upgrades For MicroSDHC, Split Screen, 3.5G
  5. Intel Has Last Round Of DRM Changes For Linux 3.19, Starts Dropping DRI1/UMS
  6. Fedora 21 Release Candidate 1 Awaits Your Testing
  7. GCC 5 Adds Support For ARM's Cortex-A17
  8. KWayland Server Component Coming For KDE Plasma 5.2
  9. NVIDIA Posts Tegra Gallium3D Patch For K1+ Support
  10. Ubuntu 14.10 MacBook Air Tests With Linux 3.18, Mesa 10.5
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Aliens vs predator for Linux
  2. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  3. Hurrican SDL Port
  4. Roadmap to Catalyst 14.10 ?
  5. how to configure module phoromatic ?
  6. PulseAudio 6.0 Is Coming & Other Linux Audio Plans For The Future
  7. Debian Developer Resigns From The Systemd Maintainership Team
  8. Cant get working Kaveri APU - A10-7850k