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AMD Zen-Derived Hygon Dhyana Appears To Be Working On Coreboot Support

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  • AMD Zen-Derived Hygon Dhyana Appears To Be Working On Coreboot Support

    Phoronix: AMD Zen-Derived Hygon Dhyana Appears To Be Working On Coreboot Support

    Chengdu Haiguang IC Design Co with its Hygon Dhyana processor that is based on AMD Zen IP appears to be pursuing Coreboot support...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...Coreboot-First

  • #2
    Most interesting development. Almost want to support it by getting these cpus instead of AMD. Currently they're china only, but expect an announcement on that soon.

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    • #3
      is coreboot just another bios on motherboards? if so it will be posible to replace the bios on existing motherboards or you have to buy special hardware?

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      • #4
        I think China is doing it right. It's a really clever way of gaining trustworthy performance without redoing it from scratch.

        They are accessing top end CPUs. Making sure they are "foreign state backdoor free" from their POV by looking at the lowlevels.
        Next step. Clear motherboards and firmware from unwanted crap and backdoors.

        Boom. State of the art performance on existing hardware and software. "Legacy free", low-level vetted for state use.
        That's some clever thinking, right there.

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        • #5
          With Intel's ModernFW Initiative, I'd like to hear what AMD is going to do in this regard. If they follow up on their strategy of openness, they should hop on board sooner rather than later.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by loganj View Post
            is coreboot just another bios on motherboards? if so it will be posible to replace the bios on existing motherboards or you have to buy special hardware?
            Yes coreboot is "another bios for motherboards" (it is the board firmware).
            No it is not possible to replace the "bios" on existing motherboards unless you have a supported motherboard, and you ALWAYS need external hardware to write the firmware file in the chip on the motherboard. Many times it's necessary to remove (=desolder if it's not on a socket) the bios Chip from the board first, because of security tricks on the board.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by debianxfce View Post
              But intel has a NSA backdoor in the hardware, the ime.
              https://www.notebookcheck.net/Eureka....245922.0.html
              "
              The HAP is a program by the NSA that lays out a series of rules that vendors should invariably stick to, in order to be approved for secure computing applications. The researchers believe that NSA's rules could have compelled Intel to include the switch as a way to ensure security compliance in institutions dealing with highly sensitive data
              "

              Open sourcing bios does not help.
              And so does AMD with their PSP. If your chip is newer than Core 2 Duo for Intel, or ~2013 for AMD, you're screwed, and your chip has backdoors that can't be fully removed. me_cleaner and similar tools can only partially neuter these anti-features.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by milkylainen View Post
                I think China is doing it right. It's a really clever way of gaining trustworthy performance without redoing it from scratch.

                They are accessing top end CPUs. Making sure they are "foreign state backdoor free" from their POV by looking at the lowlevels.
                Next step. Clear motherboards and firmware from unwanted crap and backdoors.

                Boom. State of the art performance on existing hardware and software. "Legacy free", low-level vetted for state use.
                That's some clever thinking, right there.
                Their approach is certainly better. The CPUs still have many undocumented features and (un)intended security issues. What DoMiNeLa10 said is correct AFAIK.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by loganj View Post
                  is coreboot just another bios on motherboards? if so it will be posible to replace the bios on existing motherboards or you have to buy special hardware?
                  Yes and no. Coreboot is a free-as-in-freedom firmware and bootloader implementation. It is designed to be minimalistic, resource-saving, fast, secure and, of course FOSS.
                  Contrary to the usual firmware (BIOS, UEFI) that is put on by most vendors it strives to contain less / no blobs (if possible) and you can audit the code, develop it, compile it, use it on your hardware as you like. No stress with backdoors and the likes.
                  It features so called "payloads", a software that is loaded by it. That can be SeaBIOS (a classic style (but FOSS) BIOS setup program for convenience, a bootloader like GRUB, a complete Linux kernel (as long as it fits on the flash chip) and others.

                  You don't exactly nee "special hardware", it is rather the question which combination is supported. Coreboot (and its derivatives/forks Librecore, Libreboot) support CPUs. Chipsets. Flash chips with the very software that is loaded at early boot. And SuperIO chips / Embedded Controllers.
                  If all of these components on your board are supported you have chances that Coreboot works on your system. If one is unsupported ... bad luck. And sadly component manufacturers are not always willing to cooperate / hand out datasheets how to program / handle e.g. a SuperIO chip.

                  In the end Coreboot would boot a (well supported) mainboard within milliseconds to the OS kernel, there were examples with fast SSDs where it took like 2 seconds from power button to graphical login. E.g. Chromebooks use Coreboot as well as a few other devices by various manufacturers. Especially in server environments Coreboot can also be very helpful for faster boots or just to avoid pesky UEFI bugs.

                  (Initially it (its predecessor) was developed because of a computer farm with many boxes and iirc. they were headless (just network between them and one operator terminal) and thus they had no keyboards attached. But the BIOS would complain each (re)boot that the keyboard was missing and "press F1 to continue"... so someone had to run around, attach a kbd, press F1, run to the next box... and of course you couldn't change that in the setup and the firmware vendor was unwilling to send an update. Thus people were fed up and started their own boot-firmware.)
                  Stop TCPA, stupid software patents and corrupt politicians!

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                  • #10
                    Adarion thank you for very nice explanation. if i understand correctly this in theory should work on current motherboards as long as the necessary documentation is available.

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