[coreboot] SMM handling and resident coreboot

ron minnich rminnich at gmail.com
Tue Jul 29 00:09:48 CEST 2008

Keeping coreboot running once the OS boots?

This is definitely  a total change in our philosophy but I am ready
for it, I guess, after fighting it for 9 years. There seems to be no
escape from runtime support for OSes. .

I'm not really thinking in terms of anything we have now, such as
"today's Xen kernel" or whatever. But virtualization as a unifying
theme for all the PC kludgery -- BIOS, SMI, EFI, etc. --  is
attractive. IBM has used virtualization for 40 years now, to good
effect, to insulate OSes from hardware strangeness. Sony will use it
to insulate the PS/3 linux from hardware changes -- they are providing
a 10-year guarantee that linux will not need changes to run on PS/3.

Right now on PC there are many types of virtualization --- and I
really think this is true virtualization:  when CPU does an I/O to a
keyboard chip  that does not exist, and gets a result back, what else
do you call it? That is what the USB stacks in commercial BIOSes do.

There is lots of virtual hardware in our PCs nowadays, and the OSes
depend on it. My early hope was that we would free Linux from this
model. But Linux now depends on the "Steenkin' BIOS" more than it ever
did -- you can't boot a K8 in Linux without ACPI there. Linux
dependency on the BIOS is increasing over time.

Anyway, just a random idea, I am going to pursue it and, if there are
others interested, let me know. I've done a bit of work with
virtualization over the last few years and I can't get this idea out
of my head.



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