Google Does Sandy/Ivy Bridge In Coreboot For Chrome OS
Google has committed to the open-source Coreboot BIOS implementation support for Cougar/Panther Point chipsets as found with Intel's Sandy Bridge and soon-to-launch Ivy Bridge processors. Google's planning to use Coreboot in conjunction with these newer Intel CPUs for future Chrome OS hardware to result in a very fast boot time.
There's been no announcement out of the Coreboot camp or Google, but the code has landed today for supporting Intel Cougar Point and upcoming Panther Point chipsets by this project formerly known as LinuxBIOS. The support landed in this commit with a simple commit message of "Add support for Intel Panther Point PCH." Cougar Point is the Platform Controller Hub for Intel's 6-Series Sandy Bridge chipsets while Panther Point is the Ivy Bridge successor and is noteworthy since it integrates USB 3.0 support.
Within this very large patch, which adds in over 40 new files and thousands of lines of code, there is just not the Panther Point PCH enablement but also Cougar Point for Sandy Bridge. (Yes, a few hours ago was when I shared that Sandy Bridge Coreboot support would come out today.) Unfortunately, Intel still hasn't open-sourced their memory reference code (MRC) for Sandy/Ivy Bridge -- an issue open-source developers have had for years with Intel.
This new Intel hardware enablement for Coreboot isn't coming out of Intel itself, but is actually a contribution by Google. Google has begun contributing to Coreboot and beyond this code drop today, yesterday they pushed support for Intel Turbo Boost into Coreboot per this commit.
While this Intel TurboBoost support for Coreboot was just committed publicly yesterday, it was actually written last year. The copyright is "The ChromiumOS Authors."
Why is Google doing this work to Coreboot? From a commit made on Monday, they are indeed interested in using Coreboot for their Chrome OS platform. "Google's ChromeOS can be booted super fast and safely using coreboot. This adds the ChromeOS specific code that is required by all ChromeBooks to do this."
This Intel enablement for Coreboot comes at a time when AMD remains committed to supporting Coreboot on their products and have pledged to continue with all future CPUs/chipsets. Unfortunately, even with AMD's support of documentation and code for this project, Coreboot hasn't yet found its way onto much hardware from OEMs whether they be motherboards or laptops.
Fortunately Google is going with Coreboot as opposed to dealing with the crippling UEFI situation on Linux.
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