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The Latest Open-Source AMD Firmware / Coreboot Happenings In Early 2021

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  • The Latest Open-Source AMD Firmware / Coreboot Happenings In Early 2021

    Phoronix: The Latest Open-Source AMD Firmware / Coreboot Happenings In Early 2021

    While AMD has been crushing it when it comes to Linux performance and generally delivering good launch-day support, the one area many Linux/open-source advocates have been eager and hopeful to see change is around Coreboot support and ideally open-source firmware support such as by re-opening AGESA. Both inside and outside of AMD there continues being work in this direction...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...ce-AMD-FW-2021

  • #2
    As a Lenovo product manager told me, "what value does Coreboot provide?...Lenovo already owns or has rights to any EFI or BIOS structure it desires and can modify it to any customer requirement"

    The benefit of using Coreboot for end users is well understood, but outside Google, what would drive them (or any other large vendor) to embrace it?

    There is no money in it for them.

    It has no warranty improvement benefits.

    It doesn't extend/reduce the life of the hardware in any fashion (unless misconfigured)

    A majority of customers use EFI/BIOS in consumer perhaps once maybe twice in the devices' lifetime. Traditional consumers rarely patch.

    In the business space, perhaps a little more than that, at setup, for a repair or a patch event.

    In other words, unless someone demands it (like Google) there is no biz case.

    So again why would a major OEM spend all the money to go Coreboot other than to satisfy a small libre community?

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    • #3
      Come on AMD, please give us the privacy and security we want!

      Comment


      • #4
        does this coreboot want's to be something universal compatible with all motherboards (current of future ones)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by loganj View Post
          does this coreboot want's to be something universal compatible with all motherboards (current of future ones)
          That is an interesting question - and (with my limited knowledge of coreboot) seems to be a good one. Also some of us are forced to dual boot (that paycheck thing), so does anybody know if this will work with Windows? Unfortunately, my financial circumstances cannot really justify me buying a separate computer just for Windows and have one just for linux (I wish I could).
          GOD is REAL unless declared as an INTEGER.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by edwaleni View Post
            As a Lenovo product manager told me, "what value does Coreboot provide?...Lenovo already owns or has rights to any EFI or BIOS structure it desires and can modify it to any customer requirement"
            That's a pretty narrow minded question, and non accidentally coming from someone who works for a company that's known for putting malware inside their UEFI. A smarter manager would ask, can privacy and security be a differentiating factor to get a competitive advantage in the landscape where everyone makes similar products these days? Such question requires totally different mindset though, and this manager won't get it.
            Last edited by shmerl; 07 February 2021, 02:03 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by edwaleni View Post
              As a Lenovo product manager told me, "what value does Coreboot provide?...Lenovo already owns or has rights to any EFI or BIOS structure it desires and can modify it to any customer requirement"
              Coreboot's claim is "decrease in boot time by more than 70% when compared to the OEM BIOS", it is also suppose to handle errors better. For servers, this has obvious benefits because that was the entire motivation of the project originally of having them come back online quicker and handle errors differently.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by edwaleni View Post
                As a Lenovo product manager told me, "what value does Coreboot provide?...Lenovo already owns or has rights to any EFI or BIOS structure it desires and can modify it to any customer requirement"

                In other words, unless someone demands it (like Google) there is no biz case.

                So again why would a major OEM spend all the money to go Coreboot other than to satisfy a small libre community?
                ^ in our open-source bubble you're providing the right arguments that people have when comparing coreboot to traditional BIOS implementations.

                can privacy and security be a differentiating factor to get a competitive advantage in the landscape where everyone makes similar products these days?
                Coreboot's claim is "decrease in boot time by more than 70% when compared to the OEM BIOS", it is also suppose to handle errors better. For servers, this has obvious benefits because that was the entire motivation of the project originally of having them come back online quicker and handle errors differently.
                None of these benefits are directly related to the open-source nature of coreboot. Coreboot doesn't suddenly become slower if their github repository disappears tommorow.

                I should also point out how complex and how much effort has been in these 'closed source' implementations. especially the high end motherboards for overclockers and enthousiasts. Their GUI's and option granularity has been amazing. switching to coreboot is a bad move, worst case they'll lose alot of functionality. Best case you're at feature parity while loading more and more things during the BIOS phase increasing the boot time again while providing NO extra benefit. switching bios implementations also induces short term costs of quality control testing.

                Coreboot also is licensed as GPLv2 which means ASUS, Asrock, lenovo, etc need to disclose their modifications to the Coreboot implementation which can be a competitive disadvantage for whoever picks up Coreboot first. the only advantage is to be first to market if people cared about Coreboot itself ( most people dont even care about CPU generations )

                The biggest beneficiaries are cloud providers, Defence industry (Where GPLv2 is a 'problem' for them) and system76. There's already movement in the cloud providers who want open source implementations to give transparency to clients. Vote with your money when Coreboot is loaded on your favorite systems. then we'll see how much buying power we dont have.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by edwaleni View Post
                  As a Lenovo product manager told me, "what value does Coreboot provide?...Lenovo already owns or has rights to any EFI or BIOS structure it desires and can modify it to any customer requirement"

                  The benefit of using Coreboot for end users is well understood, but outside Google, what would drive them (or any other large vendor) to embrace it?

                  There is no money in it for them.

                  It has no warranty improvement benefits.

                  It doesn't extend/reduce the life of the hardware in any fashion (unless misconfigured)

                  A majority of customers use EFI/BIOS in consumer perhaps once maybe twice in the devices' lifetime. Traditional consumers rarely patch.

                  In the business space, perhaps a little more than that, at setup, for a repair or a patch event.

                  In other words, unless someone demands it (like Google) there is no biz case.

                  So again why would a major OEM spend all the money to go Coreboot other than to satisfy a small libre community?
                  Correction: Lenovo only modifies it to satisfy requirements of customers who pay millions of dollars. They don't give a shit about yours or mine individual needs, because it's not commercially viable to modify it for an individual. Bugs that very much affect end users don't get fixed, instead they get worked around in awkward ways in other software like OS kernels and drivers.

                  Whereas with libre UEFI, you can fix the problems that affect you, without huge amounts of pain and spent money, without needing to have huge economic clout to get a corporation to do it for you. You also don't need someone's permission to do it.

                  There are many many bugs that affect end users considerably, because it doesn't affect enough users, or even if it does, the company just doesn't give a shit about fixing it (even if they're losing large amounts of customers and money because of it).

                  The same argument can be applied to anything, why bother tinkering with anything at all. Why should any child have Legos, electromagnetic or chemistry sets, let them just consume finished products. Why should they learn math, science, history etc.? Why do people like tinkering with cars, guns, bikes, electronics, computers, furniture etc.?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by creoflux View Post

                    Coreboot's claim is "decrease in boot time by more than 70% when compared to the OEM BIOS", it is also suppose to handle errors better. For servers, this has obvious benefits because that was the entire motivation of the project originally of having them come back online quicker and handle errors differently.
                    Yeah, but big server/data center companies have millions/billions of dollars of clout, and can get secret access to UEFI code for customisation and deployment, under NDA. We normal users can't.

                    Companies like Facebook love open source firmware because it gives them full control over their servers. They don't extend the same to customers and end users of their Portal devices.

                    They want control over their computers, they don't want you to have control over yours.

                    Comment

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