I just release coreboot 4.12, with release notes as follows:
Since 4.11 there were 2692 new commits by over 190 developers and of these, 59 contributed for the first time, which is quite an amazing increase.
Thank you to all developers who again helped made coreboot better than ever, and a big welcome to our new contributors!
This release saw some activity on the MAINTAINERS file, showing more persons, teams and companies declare publicly that they intend to take care of mainboards and subsystems.
To all new maintainers, thanks a lot!
Our documentation efforts in the code tree are picking up steam, with some 70 commits in that general area. Everything from typo fixes to documenting mainboard support or coreboot APIs.
There's still room to improve, but the contributions are getting more and better.
Hardware support ----------------
The removals due to the announced deprecations as well as the deduplication of boards into variants skew the stats a bit, so at a top level view this is a rare coreboot release in that it removes more boards (51) than it adds (49).
After accounting for the variant moves the numbers in favor of more hardware supported than the previous version. Besides a whole lot of Chrome OS devices (again), this release features a whole bunch of retrofits for devices originally shipping with non-coreboot OEM firmware, but also support for devices that come with coreboot right out of the box.
For that, a shout out to System76, Protectli, Libretrend and the Open Compute Project!
We simplified the header that comes at the top of every file: Instead of a lengthy reference to the license any given file is under, or even the license text itself, we opted for simple [SPDX](https://www.spdx.org) identifiers.
Since people also handled copyright lines differently, we now opt for collecting authors in AUTHORS and let git history tell the whole story.
While at it, the content-free "This file is part of this-and-that project" header was also dropped.
Besides that, there has also been more work to sort out the headers we include across the tree to minimize the code impacting every compilation unit.
Now that our board-variant mechanism matured, many boards that were individual models so far were converted into variants, making it easier to maintain families of devices.
For the 4.12 release a few features on x86 became mandatory. These are relocatable ramstage, postcar stage and C_ENVIRONMENT_BOOTBLOCK.
### Relocatable ramstage
Relocatable stages are a feature implemented only on x86, where stages can be relocated at runtime. This is used to place ramstage in a better location that does not collide with memory the OS or the payload tends to use. The rationale behind making this mandatory is that you always want cbmem to be cached so it's a good location to run ramstage from. It avoids using lower memory altogether so the OS can make use of it and no backing up needs to happen on S3 resume.
### Postcar stage
With Postcar stage tearing down Cache-as-Ram is done in a separate stage. This means that romstage has a clean program boundary and that all variables in romstage can be accessed via their linked addresses without runtime resolution. There is no need to link global and static variables via the CAR_GLOBAL macro and no need to access them with car_set/get_var/ptr functions.
Historically the bootblock on x86 platforms has been compiled with romcc. This means that the generated code only uses CPU registers and therefore no stack. This 20K+ LOC compiler is limited and hard to maintain and so is the code that one has to write in that environment. A different solution is to set up Cache-as-Ram in the bootblock and run GCC compiled code in the bootblock. The advantages are increased flexibility and consistency with other architectures as well as other stages: e.g. printing to console is possible and VBOOT can run before romstage, making romstage updatable via RW FMAP regions.
### Platforms dropped from master
The following platforms did not implement those feature are dropped from master to allow the master branch to move on: - AMDFAM10 - all FSP1.0 platforms: BROADWELL_DE, FSP_BAYTRAIL, RANGELEY - VIA VX900
In particular on FSP1.0 it is impossible to implement POSTCAR stage. The reason is that FSP1.0 relocates the CAR region to the HOB before returning to coreboot. This means that after FSP returns to coreboot accessing variables via their original address is not possible. One way of obtaining that behavior would be to set up Cache-as-Ram again (but with open source code) and copy the relocated data from the HOB there. This solution is deemed too hacky. Maybe a lesson can be learned from this: blobs should not interfere with the execution environment, as this makes proper integration much harder.
Given that some platforms supported by FSP1.0 are being produced and popular, the 4.11 release was made into a branch in which further development can happen.
Significant changes -------------------
### SMMSTORE is now production ready
See [smmstore](../drivers/smmstore.md) for the documentation on the API, but note that there will be an update to it featuring a much-improved but incompatible API.
### Unit testing infrastructure
Unit testing of coreboot is now possible in a more structured way, with new build subsystem and adoption of [Cmocka](https://cmocka.org/) framework. Tree has new directory `tests/`, which comprises infrastructure and examples of unit tests. See [Unit testing coreboot](../technotes/2020-03-unit-testing-coreboot.md) for the design document.
Final Notes -----------
Your favorite new feature or supported board didn't make it to the release notes? They're maintained collaboratively in the coreboot tree, so when you land something noteworthy don't be shy, contribute to the upcoming release's document in Documentation/releases!
Best regards, Patrick Georgi