Libreboot To Provide New Firmware ROMs With CPU Microcode Removed

Written by Michael Larabel in Coreboot on 20 June 2023 at 06:00 AM EDT. 15 Comments
CPU microcode updates are commonly done in the name of security fixes and resolving functionality issues.. In recent years, CPU microcode updates have been a much more common -- and important -- occurrence. While all modern CPUs rely on microcode it's just a matter of whether the version used is baked into the hardware or an updated version loaded by the BIOS or OS at boot time, a "vocal minority" of users are unhappy with CPU microcode being included in Libreboot ROMs. Thus moving forward there will be alternative builds of Libreboot for different motherboards with the CPU microcode stripped out in the name of software freedom.

To provide for those wanting to keep running an outdated CPU microcode version that's baked into the processor rather than shipping any updated CPU microcode binaries as part of Libreboot software package, moving forward there will be the CPU-microcode-less builds. Libreboot continues to serve as a free/open-source software minded downstream of Coreboot and thus they decided on new policy around CPU microcode handling:
"A small but vocal minority of users are unhappy with the presence of these microcode files, so it has been decided that the Libreboot project will once again accomodate such users. This change has been implemented in the most unintrusive way possible, to keep the build system logic clean, contrary to the bloat that existed in many older Libreboot releases.

In previous releases of Libreboot, no-microcode was the default (microcode updates were excluded entirely, from all releases). This policy was changed during November 2022, as part of an ongoing campaign to support more hardware (from coreboot) within Libreboot, so as to provide many more people with coreboot which, regardless of blob status on each platform, does provide increased software freedom compared to fully proprietary boot firmware, which is what people would otherwise use; thus, Libreboot’s modern policy is pragmatic, advancing further the cause of software freedom.

By contrast, Libreboot’s previous policy was to ban all binary blobs, which meant that many mainboards from coreboot were excluded. This resulted in less people achieving a level of software freedom, because to this day, nothing quite like Libreboot exists with the scope and ambition that it has. Libreboot makes coreboot as easy to use as possible for normal, non-technical people who like the idea of coreboot, but are not competent to configure it from scratch.

Accordingly, the old Libreboot policy, prior to November 2022, harmed the Free Software movement. Such harm was corrected in November 2022 and, going forward, it is the intention of the Libreboot project to eventually have build targets for every mainboard that coreboot supports!"

Those curious about this change for Libreboot, which at the moment mostly supports older hardware platforms that require less in the way of binary blobs for hardware initialization, can be found on

Libreboot has also been working this year on expanding their supported hardware selection.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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