Raptor Announces Kestrel Open-Source, Open HDL/Firmware Soft BMC

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 21 January 2021 at 06:03 AM EST. 9 Comments
Raptor Engineering known for their work on open-source POWER9 systems has announced Kestrel, an open-source baseboard management controller (BMC) design that is open down to the HDL design and firmware.

Raptor describes Kestrel as "the world's first open HDL / open firmware soft BMC, built on POWER and capable of IPLing existing OpenPOWER systems!" This isn't a physical BMC chip but a "soft" BMC that is currently designed and tested on Lattice ECP-5 FPGAs. It can currently handle an initial program load (IPL) for a POWER9 host like the Blackbird and Talos II systems of Raptor Computing Systems after deactivating the existing ASpeed hardware BMC found on those systems.

Raptor continues to intend developing Kestrel for OpenPOWER systems.

This is interesting for those wanting a fully libre system down to the hardware description language as while there is the OpenBMC project for providing an open-source BMC firmware stack on select motherboards, it's still ultimately relying upon hardware BMC designs that are not open/libre in nature.

More details for those interested in Raptor's Kestrel project can be found via this Git repository.
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