AMD openSIL Will Eventually Replace AGESA, Supporting Both Client & Server CPUs
Since first learning of AMD openSIL in March for open-source silicon initialization and supporting Coreboot and other firmware solutions, we've been eager to learn more about this new open-source AMD effort.
In mid-April they began detailing their plans for AMD openSIL and initial support for 4th Gen EPYC "Genoa" processors and their reference motherboard platform. With the initial focus on EPYC server platforms, it wasn't initially clear if this would be limited to just AMD server processors, but one of the AMD graphics did make mention of Ryzen:
The good news is that during the OCP presentation in Prague, it was made clear that AMD openSIL will be a replacement to AGESA and in turn supporting their entire future processor spectrum. Raj Kapoor, AMD Fellow and AMD's Chief Firmware Architect, in fact began the AMD openSIL presentation by talking about the challenges they've had with AGESA in adapting it to Coreboot for Chromebook purposes with Ryzen SoCs.
Raj said during his presentation, "AMD openSIL will be scaling to both server and client platforms by the 2026 timeframe." It was very refreshing to hear the entire AMD openSIL expanse and that it's not being limited to just server processors with hyperscaler deployments and Chromebooks on the Ryzen side or so. In being more versatile than AGESA, this is a great open-source system firmware outlook for the future.
With AMD openSIL not expected to be production ready until around 2026, this puts it roughly inline for an AMD Zen 6 or Zen 7 introduction. The proof of concept code for AMD Genoa is expected to come soon. Raj further added during the Q&A at the end of the presentation, "AGESA will be end of life, [AMD] openSIL will replace it" on all products.
But until that 2026 production point, it's not clear yet the extent of any client PoC support. Their initial proof of concept code that will soon be published has been talked about just for 4th Gen EPYC. It's likely much of their early AMD openSIL code will be tailoring to server platforms given the greater likelihood of the hyperscalers and other big players helping to evaluate and test the code on their server platforms rather than catering to random end-users wanting to toy around with AMD openSIL on their desktops.
The presentation also noted that beyond AMD openSIL code being open-source, the openSIL specification will also be open. AMD "invites every silicon vendor" to participate in this open-source system firmware endeavor.
Knowing that AMD openSIL is poised to replace AGESA in the future -- across the entire AMD CPU product stack -- is very exciting as opposed to being some complementary niche effort to AGESA that could be easily discontinued, etc. It will be very interesting to see how AMD's open-source firmware journey plays out and stay tuned to Phoronix to keep reading more about it.
If you haven't already, checkout the AMD opemnSIL OCP presentation video.