AMD Is Making Progress On Open-Source Firmware - Initially With OpenBMC

Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 3 December 2020 at 11:11 AM EST. 22 Comments
While we are still waiting to see what AMD might do for returning to open-source AGESA or better supporting Coreboot and the like, they are making some inroads with open-source firmware support -- beyond the context of Chromebooks where they continue to engage due to Google's engineering requirements. AMD is working to "align with the industry direction of open-source firmware stacks" with their initial focus being on open-source OpenBMC firmware support for their server platforms.

AMD's Supreeth Venkatesh spoke at this week's virtual Open-Source Firmware Conference (OSFC 2020) on the work they are pursuing around OpenBMC. It was acknowledged that this work is being done due to the industry direction these days of preferring open-source firmware stacks (and being "a good open-source citizen") but stopped short of outlining any other open-source firmware plans at this time outside of OpenBMC. Given the customer interest and industry trends they have been working to support open-source OpenBMC support on the AMD server reference platforms. From the presentation, it looks like Twitter's engineering team has been involved with the bring-up and among the interested users but surely other key industry players are also taking note.

OpenBMC for those unaware is the effort around providing a Linux-based open-source firmware stack for baseboard management controllers. OpenBMC is backed by companies like IBM, Intel, Google, and Facebook. OpenBMC is used by the likes of Raptor Computing System's Talos II server and Blackbird desktop as part of their fully-open hardware approach.

Currently they have OpenBMC working on their AMD EPYC "Ethanol" reference platform while support for the newer EPYC "Daytona" platform is in the works. They are hoping soon to upstream the DeviceTree support in the Linux kernel around the Daytona platform that was their reference platform initially for the EPYC 7002 "Rome" series.

Features they are working on moving forward include IPMI 2.0 compliance, Redfish compliance, handling remote debugging with OpenBMC, an APML SB-RMI kernel driver, CPU power management, and RAS functionality.

AMD's open-source OpenBMC changes are being staged via this GitHub branch. More details within the OSFC slide deck. Great to see more AMD engagement around open-source firmware support and will be very interesting to see where this journey leads in 2021.

Also worth noting as well is the independent work 3mdeb is pursuing on Trenchboot DRTM (Dynamic Root of Trust for Measurement) on AMD platforms. If AMD Secure Startup type functionality is of interest to you, see this slide deck for those details on working out open-source AMD Secure Startup by the firm 3mdeb.
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