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Coreboot Now Supports Directly Booting To A Linux Kernel FIT Image

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  • Coreboot Now Supports Directly Booting To A Linux Kernel FIT Image

    Phoronix: Coreboot Now Supports Directly Booting To A Linux Kernel FIT Image

    Coreboot's latest development code now supports parsing and booting of FIT payloads. FIT in this context is a Flattened Image Tree that leverages DeviceTree...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...t-FIT-Payloads

  • #2
    Did I understand it directly, kernel will be installed into Coreboot?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dimko View Post
      Did I understand it directly, kernel will be installed into Coreboot?
      It seems it will be written in the flash area for "coreboot payloads" in the board firmware. Updating it should be as easy as erasing that area and then flashing the new payload.

      Modern-ish boards have quite a bit of space in there, more than 3-4MB "free" once the UEFI firmware is removed and replaced with Coreboot.

      The board firmware is stored in NOR flash, it's not wearing out anytime soon even if you flash another kernel every week.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
        It seems it will be written in the flash area for "coreboot payloads" in the board firmware. Updating it should be as easy as erasing that area and then flashing the new payload.

        Modern-ish boards have quite a bit of space in there, more than 3-4MB "free" once the UEFI firmware is removed and replaced with Coreboot.

        The board firmware is stored in NOR flash, it's not wearing out anytime soon even if you flash another kernel every week.
        Oh wao cool!

        I remember trying to get coreboot onto my AMD PC, but it seems half baked with my motherboard which worked fine was not supported

        As far as I remember, core boot was not getting any better since?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by dimko View Post
          As far as I remember, core boot was not getting any better since?
          Correct, there never was that much incentive to port boards to coreboot even back then when it was at least possible.

          As it is now, Intel has basically locked out any porting by restricting to paying customers (=companies that design/build automation or embedded systes, or Google with their Chromebooks) documentation and blobs needed for board startup.

          For AMD the situation is similar.

          Currently the only possible way to actually replace the stock firmware with something less brain-dead than UEFI in newer boards is https://www.linuxboot.org/ (one of the founders of Coreboot is also the founder of that project), where they just take the stock board firmware, hack it to remove most of UEFI and leave only the most basic hardware initialization firmware, then have this firmware load and start a linux kernel to act as a bootloader.

          It's a new-ish project though, and they don't have much more traction than Coreboot has.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
            Correct, there never was that much incentive to port boards to coreboot even back then when it was at least possible.

            As it is now, Intel has basically locked out any porting by restricting to paying customers (=companies that design/build automation or embedded systes, or Google with their Chromebooks) documentation and blobs needed for board startup.

            For AMD the situation is similar.

            Currently the only possible way to actually replace the stock firmware with something less brain-dead than UEFI in newer boards is https://www.linuxboot.org/ (one of the founders of Coreboot is also the founder of that project), where they just take the stock board firmware, hack it to remove most of UEFI and leave only the most basic hardware initialization firmware, then have this firmware load and start a linux kernel to act as a bootloader.

            It's a new-ish project though, and they don't have much more traction than Coreboot has.
            As a business user I'd say there's a strong "why?" factor to LinuxBoot. You still have all the low level proprietary stuff running before boot and even after (SMI, etc.), including the stuff that is known capable of being an excellent backdoor. All you've managed to do is 1.) attract unwanted legal attention for modifying a DRM-enabled system and 2.) void any warranty or legal claims you might otherwise have against the vendor for data loss, etc.

            I just don't see the point other than "hobby, we did it because we could".

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            • #7
              Originally posted by madscientist159 View Post
              As a business user I'd say there's a strong "why?" factor to LinuxBoot.
              Businness users would be those that either buy the hardware from a vendor (and get a firmware that sucks with little chances to fix it or to buy a product with a better firmware) or those that buy the hardware from Intel/AMD and get the low-level proprietary stuff and documentation only, which then have to license the actual board firmware from a software house that specializes in that, like Insyde, American Megatrends, Phoenix, and others, and then use that to make the firmware.

              You still have all the low level proprietary stuff running before boot and even after (SMI, etc.),
              Which is a tiny minuscule part, and works at very low-level, and is not accessibler from outside. UEFI "userspace" and APIs are removed, and the SMM/SMI is disabled or assigned to the linux kernel, and not to the UEFI firmware.

              including the stuff that is known capable of being an excellent backdoor.
              The ME can be effectively isolated if you remove most of its modules and also the UEFI-ME modules, and its ability to flash itself or the firmware.

              All you've managed to do is 1.) attract unwanted legal attention for modifying a DRM-enabled system
              Wrong, you are just disabling features. You would be attracting legal attention if you tried to hack or reverse engineer the ME. Most of the UEFI firmware is a softwate framework the OEMs buy from third party software development companies.
              and 2.) void any warranty or legal claims you might otherwise have against the vendor for data loss, etc.
              ??? If you are working with the board firmware you are the hardware vendor or you just don't care (redundancy in large installations for example), this didn't change, it was the same also in Coreboot.

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