[coreboot] [Comm. BIOS costs] What are the best motherboards/systems out there for open-source software?

Ken.Fuchs at bench.com Ken.Fuchs at bench.com
Mon Jun 23 20:19:06 CEST 2008

> On Mon, 2008-06-23 at 13:56 +0100, Tiago Marques wrote:

> > Anyone has any idea of how much are the costs for using 
> > Pheonix or AMI's BIOS?

Cristi Magherusan wrote:

> A few dollars per unit, i guess. I think their strong point 
> is that they
> offer support for them and make them work on new board models.

The royalty per unit varies widely based on unit volume.
For lower volumes, the royalty per unit can be about $10
or even more per unit.

However, the biggest external cost is the source code
licensing fee.  A full UEFI based source code license
will cost up to $50,000 via a IBV (according to public
UEFI documents as I recall).  An IBV in this context
would include AMI, Phoenix, Insyde and General Software.
(A legacy BIOS is comparable in price and usually faster
as well, a sad comment on UEFI.)  If your board contains
an embedded controller that laptops/mobile devices often
require, the $50,000 figure may not cover the embedded
controller's source code, so you can expect to pay a
significant percentage more to include the embedded
controller source code.  There may even be an additional
per unit royalty for the embedded controller source code.

So now you have a rough idea of the external costs that
can be saved on mainboards that are already supported by
coreboot and associated payloads.  BTW, OpenEC is the
only open source embedded controller I'm aware of and it
partially supports a least a particular version of the
OLPC as of the end of 2007 when development on it ceased.
So, if you need embedded controller code, your lowest cost
alternative will probably still be closed source as
provided by an IBV or other third party that specializes
in embedded controller code.


Ken Fuchs

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