Coreboot Had An Exciting Decade Thanks To Google's Chromebooks, Efforts Like LinuxBoot
Written by Michael Larabel in Coreboot on 28 December 2019 at 02:14 AM EST. 3 Comments
COREBOOT --
With all but the very first Google Chromebook devices running Coreboot in place of traditional proprietary BIOS, this has been a big win for Coreboot during the 2010s but there has also been notable offshoots like LinuxBoot and Libreboot.

Coreboot, or LinuxBIOS as it was originally known, has been around for 20 years already but certainly during the 2010s has been the most exciting years to date. Besides powering all current Chromebook devices at Google, Coreboot continues seeing new laptops / motherboards ported to Coreboot, more architectures embracing Coreboot, and other efforts helping it in trying to replace legacy/proprietary system firmware/BIOS.

The situation for Coreboot at the end of 2019 still isn't ideal with the latest generations of AMD and Intel CPUs still requiring binary-only blobs. On the Intel side at least for the FSP I've been told for a year now they are working to a solution albeit not yet out there. On the AMD side at the EPYC Rome launch I was also told they are working to restore their Coreboot support though not yet achieved either.

In any case, the 2010s were very exciting for Coreboot and here's a look back at some of the most exciting milestones as judged by the Phoronix reader interest:

Coreboot Adds Lenovo X220 With Native Sandy Bridge Support
This month on Phoronix I covered Coreboot gaining support for the ThinkPad X200 and support for older MacBooks (along with the Chromebook Samus) while now Coreboot is enabling support for some newer ThinkPad laptops.

Why You Don't See Coreboot Supported By Many Modern Intel Systems
While Coreboot has been ported to a number of older ThinkPads and other outdated Intel motherboards and laptops, you don't see many modern Intel systems supporting Coreboot. The reason for the lack of Coreboot support is due to a "feature" introduced with Haswell.

Librecore: Aiming To Be A Better Libre Spin Of Coreboot
Librecore is a new project aiming to be a new Coreboot downstream with a focus remaining on providing fully-free system firmware. Separately, Minifree/Libreboot has been accused (and admitted by Leah Rowe) to not paying a vendor for a completed contract.

Intel Working On Open-Sourcing The FSP - Would Be Huge Win For Coreboot & Security
Intel's Architecture Day on Tuesday was delightfully filled with an overwhelming amount of valuable hardware information, but Intel's software efforts were also briefly touched on too. In fact, Raja Koduri reinforced how software is a big part of Intel technology and goes in-hand with their security, interconnect, memory, architecture, and process pillars and that's where their new oneAPI initiative will fit in. But what learning afterwards was most exciting on the software front.

Google Does Sandy/Ivy Bridge In Coreboot For Chrome OS
Google has committed to the open-source Coreboot BIOS implementation support for Cougar/Panther Point chipsets as found with Intel's Sandy Bridge and soon-to-launch Ivy Bridge processors. Google's planning to use Coreboot in conjunction with these newer Intel CPUs for future Chrome OS hardware to result in a very fast boot time.

Libreboot Drama Continues, GNU Might Keep The Project
It's been one week since the Libreboot downstream of Coreboot announced it would leave the GNU and denounced the FSF over supposedly a transgendered individual having been fired by the this free software group. Both Richard Stallman and the FSF denounced these claims made by Libreboot maintainer Leah Rowe. Since then, no actual proof has been presented to back up these claims by the Libreboot maintainer but the drama around it has seemingly continued.

The State Of LinuxBoot For Replacing Proprietary UEFI Firmware With The Linux Kernel
LinuxBoot is the year-old project for replacing proprietary UEFI implementations with the Linux kernel in essence. Adoption continues to grow for LinuxBoot and is now being used inside several large corporations.

It Will Be Interesting To See If AMD Supports Coreboot For Zen
This year we should finally see the release of the highly anticipated AMD Zen processors that will hopefully better position their processors to compete with Intel. However, one of the unanswered questions about this next-gen platform is whether it will support Coreboot as an optional open-source firmware to replace the proprietary UEFI/BIOS.

AMD Ryzen/Zen Currently Doesn't Support Coreboot Today
Back in 2011 was the glorious announcement that AMD would support Coreboot with its future CPUs. Sadly, a lot has changed at AMD over the past half-decade, and there isn't any Coreboot support to find today for Zen/Ryzen.

Dell Is Exploring The Use Of Coreboot, At Least Internally
Dell appears to be using Coreboot on some of their modern Intel Atom motherboards paired with the Intel FSP and TianoCore.

How Can AMD EPYC "Rome" 7002 Series Be Even Better? Open-Source BIOS / Coreboot
By now you've likely seen the fantastic performance out of AMD's new "Rome" 7002 series processors. The performance is phenomenal and generally blowing well past Intel's Xeon Cascade Lake processors. So that's all good and it can get even better outside of performance: I asked AMD about the prospects of Coreboot / open-source BIOS support and got a surprising response.

Purism's Librem 13 Coreboot Port Now "100%" Complete
According to Purism's Youness Alaoui, their Coreboot port to the Librem 13 v1 laptop is now considered complete.

Coreboot Picks Up A New Kabylake Chromebook "Fizz"
It may not be as exciting as hearing Dell looking at Coreboot, but another Intel-powered Chromebook is now supported by mainline Coreboot.

Coreboot Lands Hardware Support Improvements
Google is keeping to their open-source promise and preparing for an onslaught of Chrome OS devices with many changes the past few days being pushed into the Coreboot open-source firmware project widely used by Chromebooks. Besides the Google "Slippy" Chromebook being added this weekend was "Falco", "Peppy", and other new hardware support.

Coreboot Ready To Ship On Upcoming Purism Librem 13/15 Laptops
Purism is preparing to ship their updated Librem 13 and Librem 15 laptops with Coreboot.

Lenovo X201 Support Comes To Coreboot
The Lenovo ThinkPad X201 laptop is now supported by mainline Coreboot.

OpenBMC Is Aiming For Its Major Debut In Early 2019
The OpenBMC project hosted by the Linux Foundation to begin providing open-source Baseboard Management Controller firmware stacks is planning for its first major/official release in 2019 as this collaborative community project from leading software and hardware vendors.

Libreboot, Coreboot Downstream, Becomes A GNU Project
Libreboot, the downstream of Coreboot that doesn't permit any closed-source microcode/firmware blobs as part of the hardware initialization process for this alternative to proprietary BIOS/UEFI, has become an official GNU project.

Coreboot Now Works On A ~$70 Intel Motherboard
Coreboot has been ported to work on another Intel motherboard. This new support target is for older Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors but the motherboard can still be purchased via retail channels and sells for only about $70 USD.

Acer's CXI2 Chromebox Now Has Upstream Coreboot Support
Acer's CXI2 Chromebox line-up is now supported by mainline Coreboot.

Don't Get Excited Over Coreboot Laptops Yet
Unfortunately there isn't much to get excited over yet when it comes to using Coreboot on laptops.

Some System76 Hardware Beginning To See Coreboot Support
Several System76 laptops are beginning to see Coreboot support! This is a nice sign of progress in making System76 hardware more attractive to Linux/open-source users though they aren't yet shipping Coreboot on the systems by default.

SeaBIOS 1.9 Brings Many Additions
SeaBIOS 1.9 has been out since last month as the latest version of this open-source implementation of a 16-bit x86 BIOS widely used by Coreboot, QEMU, and other projects.

Yabits: A New UEFI Coreboot Payload Alternative To TianoCore & Closed-Source Blobs
Yabits was announced last month at the OSFC 2018 conference in Erlangen, Germany. Yabits is a lighter-weight alternative to the open-source TianoCore UEFI implementation and other commonly used proprietary UEFI implementations by motherboard vendors.

Google "Reef" Is An Apollo Lake Chromebook, Now Supported By Coreboot
Google engineers have been busy this week working on Coreboot: monsterous work at the start of the week, adding in a Qualcomm "Gale" device later in the week, and now today adding in support for another Chromebook.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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