Linux Foundation Announces "LinuxBoot" To Replace Some Firmware With Linux Code

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 25 January 2018 at 05:34 PM EST. 33 Comments
Not to be confused with Coreboot or its former name of LinuxBIOS, the Linux Foundation today announced LinuxBoot as a new initiative for replacing system firmware with the Linux kernel/drivers.

LinuxBoot is backed from the likes of Google and Facebook for improving the system boot speed and reliability by replacing some firmware functionality with the Linux kernel and a runtime.

"LinuxBoot addresses the often slow, often error-prone, obscured code that executes these steps with a Linux kernel. The result is a system that boots in a fraction of the time of a typical system, and with greater reliability...The LinuxBoot model brings key advantages for users across the broad spectrum of embedded, mobile, and server platforms. Leveraging the massive scale of development of Linux in the boot process gives the user control and support that can’t be achieved any other way," reads the Linux Foundation announcement.

Details are still light but LinuxBoot does appear to use Coreboot's ROM stage for hardware initialization and U-Boot along with the UEFI PEI and then LinuxBoot consists of a Linux kernel and initial RAM file-system that moves onto booting the actual system operating system. In particular, LinuxBoot replaces the UEFI DXE (Driver Execution Environment) step.

LinuxBoot does appear to originate at least in part from Google's "reduced firmware" NERF project.

At this stage LinuxBoot appears to just support the Dell R630 server. Facebook's interest in LinuxBoot comes down to their Open Compute Project and for that there is a preliminary image so far for Winterfell via this GitHub repository.

Hopefully more information will become available soon but for now there is the light documentation at
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