On Sun, Oct 3, 2010 at 10:58 AM, phorsyon <phorsyon(a)gmx.net> wrote:
I consider myself as enthusiast and would like to
share my thoughts about
coreboot certification and PR as a person from outside the coreboot project. I
hope this will help you to see this project from another perspective and
therefore helpful for your plans and further actions. Let me say I would
really appreciate it, if vendors would ship their products preloaded with
We are not vendors, and AFAIK no hardware OEM vendors ship with
On Sunday 03 October 2010, Warren Turkal wrote:
At first it would be helpful to define what you would
like to achieve by
introducing a coreboot certificate. Helping developers to find boards, which
have basic support (as described earlier) for easy further development or
helping users/customers to find boards which are coreboot compatible?
I believe that is what this process is trying to do.
To make coreboot popular, it needs (a) a feature
people want, (b) major
vendors to deliver it and (c) available documentation for all components to
make it work with most boards. These requirements are interdependent and must
be solved as whole. To get c vendors must be convinced to want b and therefore
coreboot needs a. So what's a? It surely is fast boot up, but depending on
what your target audience is, it might also be boot non-free OSes and works
with proprietary drivers. If you want to make vendors want b it's definitly
required to target the average user.
I do not believe that (c) is strictly required in that you don't need
detailed bios developer guides once the code is available. It would be
useful, but I don't see it as being required.
We also need to be realistic. OEMs are not taking up coreboot in mass
right now. We need to set the certification bar at the point that it
would be useful for the coreboot project. I believe that setting the
certification bar allow a more rapid development of coreboot code
would be much more productive that pie-in-the-sky arguments about what
to do with all the OEMs that want to ship coreboot.
There is the possibility to depent on the vendors and
the community. Vendors
could test if non-free OSes work with coreboot (they test this anyway with
their own BIOSes) and the community could assure this as well. That would
require a place (e.g. the wiki) were the status of each board is tracked and
an easy way to contribute. A Login would be required to keep the data on a
Vendors do not ship coreboot yet. I believe that we only have the
community at this point. Given that fact, we need to do what we can to
get vendors interested. I believe that maturing the coreboot codebase
is probably the most effective way to do that.
having some OS independent test suite would be the best
approach I think, but I don't see that getting developed overnight. :)
That's automation. Automation is the second step. ;-)
Indeed. For the record, I believe that Linux probably has a mature
enough ACPI stack and other systems to be pretty good barometer of
compliance short of having an independent test suite.
If you think of a little certification logo/mark that
vendors print on their
boxes, then it has to be as simple and clear as possible.
*snip description of coreboot minimal certification level*
What about calling it "Coreboot: Developer's
Choice". Also freely available
documentation would be a nice core requirement for that.
I actually don't like "minimal." However, I also don't like
Developer's Choice." What would you think about "Coreboot beta test"?
*snip description of coreboot standard certification level*
This would target the normal user, so I would call it
"Coreboot compatible" or
"Coreboot compatible" is probably a better choice. I like that better
This mark should assure that all parts of the board
meaning every feature, expected by the average user, hhis is important to
please them. So that this mark actually means something to them. If they have
a good reason to care about it, also the vendors have one, and this would give
the coreboot project the authority dictate such high standards.
Things normal users care about to work:
- All build-in components (net, snd, gfx)
I should have explicitly included this in the standard certification level.
- All ports/expansion slots (exceptions: rs232,
Already said this in the standard certification level except that I
didn't make any exceptions. It's sloppy to leave physical and header
ports not working.
- Everything related to power management as supported
by the underlying
hardware and drivers (All power states, ACPI). Also needed to improve drivers.
For the record, I included this in the "better ACPI support" section
of the standard certification. The OSPM part of ACPI includes all
power states of all parts of the system.
- Add-on components most importantly Nvidia/ATI cards
I don't believe that we should bias toward some particular class of
add-on card or some vendor of add-on card.
- The OS of choice (BSD, Linux, Windows)
While I agree with this sentiment, we can't test everything. I think
that we should agree on a standard test OS. That OS needs to be freely
obtainable to make the testing bar very low.
- fast booting
I think this might be a little too subjective for certification. What
if a server vendor wanted to ship coreboot firmware that does a
longish running operation everytime before booting. Would that never
qualify for a coreboot certification?
Things normal users don't care about:
- most legacy stuff like rs232, parallel, floppy
As stated above, I think that leaving ports with physical or header
connections nonfunctional is just sloppy, and it would not reflect
well on the project to allow board in that state to get a standard
- pro features like *PXE, AoE, iSCSI (Those could be
combined under a logo
like "Coreboot for Professionals")
I agree about things like PXE, AoE, and iSCSI being more important to
big iron. I'm not sure that we should have another certification level
to support them right out of the gate, however. More certification
levels is more confusing.
- OSes besides the ones they use
Tags could be
used to identify specific extended support. For
instance, a system certified to boot Windows 7 could be "Coreboot
minimal+MSWin7" certified or "Coreboot standard+MSWin7" certified or
something like that. If anyone wanted to display the certification,
they could display it with or without the tags.
For OSes, users will expect that the major ones (BSD, Linux, Windows) will
work flawlessy if labeled "Coreboot compatible". So if you focus on the
user, this should be respected. Listing the other features separately is a
good idea, as normal users mostly won't care about them, but experienced users
get the chance to check for them. To keep the logo itself simple, the feature
list should be separated from the logo e.g. printed on the backside of a
package. Or as mentioned above combined to another logo like "Coreboot for
Frankly, I don't think that we are aiming for average users at this
time. We are aiming for the developers that can advocate coreboot's
use in OEM hardware or folks who see enough of an advantage to pay for
a port to their hardware. These are very sophisticated users.
Keeping track of detailed information in the wiki is a
good thing. If vendors
decide to deliver coreboot it should be as easy as possible for them.
I am not sure this data is simple enough for wiki. However, I haven't
given this too much thought.
That's were vendors and community could help out.
We don't have vendors shipping coreboot that I am aware of. From a
look at http://www.coreboot.org/Products
, the closest we have is VIA,
and they aren't shipping coreboot on any systems that I know of.
That's why I would go for "Coreboot:
Developer's Choice" and "Coreboot
compatible" (or "Coreboot powered" for actual boards preloaded with
it makes it much clearer in my opinion. If there's one think you don't won't
certification mark to do, then it's confusing people more than helping them.
I agree that clarity is of the utmost importance. I also think that
"Coreboot: Developer's Choice
While I agree
with this, I think that a minimally certified piece of
hardware should not need working fan logic.
True, developers should be able to deal with it, but for users it's a must
That's why I included that as part of the standard certification.
True, but to respect vendors and how they work (e.g.
deadlines etc.), it would
be clever to keep up a communication channel to announce e.g. "no certification
from X to Y (due to $REASON)". This allows vendors to plan. The point being
always try to work with, never against each other. ;-)
I think this is somewhat moot since we don't have vendors at this
point, but, of course, I believe that we should make this work with
vendors when they are ready.
If it really
becomes a problem that vendors want the certification
during a time when Kevin isn't around, that would be a good problem
for the project to have. :)
Yes that's somehow true, but to some extend this could also be considered
mismanagement. To prevent those situations each vendor would have to have (at
least) one employee to stay in contact with coreboot project, which would have
to ask for one. Also interproject communication (e.g. between flashrom,
coreboot and seabios) is vital. I can't tell how this works atm., I assume
quite good, but what I'm trying to point out is, that vendors (and users) are
always looking for a complete package to solve their problems. Therefore I
consider the free boot up infrastructure, meaning flashrom, coreboot and
seabios, as a whole package. This makes working hand in hand very important.
I don't think it's mismanagement unless we think that Kevin is away
enough to warrant adding others who can take this responsibility. If
that happens, it's a good problem to have, and I am sure we can modify
exactly what our definition of code state is to allow a certification.
If we start off with a more conservative definition and expand it in
the future, I think that'd be okay.
Please keep in mind that I'm neither involved in
the coreboot project or any
related projects nor do I work for a hardware vendor. I simply try to express
how I see the whole picture with the hope this could be of any help for your
I definitely appreciate your PoV. I think we'll need a lot of
perspective to do something like this successfully.