On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 1:53 PM Jonathan Neuschäfer
> On Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 07:54:33PM +0530, Nihar Khuntia wrote:
> > Hi Developers,
> > my laptop has hardwares details as attached in this email. will it support
> > coreboot ?
> At present time, no. As you can see in the coreboot source code or
> menuconfig, this laptop (Dell Vostro 1014) is currently not supported in
> While it is possible to change that, it involes weeks or months of
> programming and testing work ("porting").
According to the internet, this machine has a Mobile 4 Series (e.g.
GM45) northbridge with DDR2, an ICH9M southbridge, and an ITE IT8502E
embedded controller. There's some coreboot support for this
northbridge and southbridge, but support for DDR2 memory is missing.
There are some WIP patches on review.coreboot.org which are good
enough to boot, but other things like S3 suspend and resume don't work
The embedded controller is another problem: it runs mainboard-specific
firmware. There's a datasheet for it on the internet, which should
help understand some things. However, making all laptop features work
correctly (e.g. keyboard, touchpad, special function keys, lid
open/close detection, fan control, backlight control, power
management...) will require some reverse engineering work.
Another thing I saw on schematics (yes, there's schematics on the
internet for this mainboard): on this mainboard, the flash chip is
connected to the EC, so it contains both the BIOS and the EC firmware.
This complicates coreboot porting (e.g. one usually can't use a chip
clip to reflash externally, because the EC gets powered through the
programmer and turns on). However, this board has some testpads, so it
is possible to solder a second flash chip directly to the ICH9M
southbridge. There's a pin on the ICH9M to choose the Boot BIOS
location, which can then be wired to a switch (e.g. the Wi-Fi switch)
to select between the two flash chips. Yes, this involves soldering
very small things onto even smaller testpads, but it would only need
to be done once. And since the original vendor firmware would be
untouched, the laptop would then be pretty much unbrickable.
I've added a second flash chip to a Toshiba A300-1ME, and I've used it
to test the GM45 DDR2 initialization code. I call it a "portable
coreboot development system": if coreboot doesn't boot, I can always
power off, switch to vendor BIOS, boot to Linux and reflash with
`flashrom -p internal`. No tools, no disassembly needed. :)
In short: there's currently no coreboot support for it. However, if
you're really adventurous, adding a second flash chip is a very
reasonable option: soldering small components requires some skills,
but once it's done, switching between the vendor BIOS and coreboot is
just a matter of flipping a switch. Not having to worry about
recovering from a non-booting coreboot.rom greatly simplifies
> Best regards,
> Jonathan Neuschäfer
> : https://review.coreboot.org/cgit/coreboot.git/tree/src/mainboard/dell
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