[coreboot] Possible support for Lippert Cool LiteRunner

Carl-Daniel Hailfinger c-d.hailfinger.devel.2006 at gmx.net
Tue Mar 11 15:44:49 CET 2008

Hi Frans,

On 11.03.2008 13:59, Frans Grotepass wrote:
> We use the Lippert Cool LiteRunner in a commercial application. The POST
> times of the Lippert BIOS is DISMAL to say the least. The embedded
> system takes 11 seconds to the lilo/grub stage.

I assume you want to run Linux on that board and not Windows.

> I noticed that the Cool FrontRunner has some work completed, although it
> is not listed as a working board. The Frontrunner is basically a
> LiteRunner with some extra features.

The Frontrunner support in Coreboot v2 was in a half-working state about
two years ago and the situation has not improved since then. It is
rather unlikely you can use it as a template for Literunner without
being very familiar with the old Coreboot v2 code structure.

> Our company are considering the possibilties for a new BIOS. The
> following questions come to mind:
> Option 1: We hack coreboot.
> * What will this entail in work? We have some experience and equipment in 
> house for the job.

Depending on how familiar your engineers are with firmware development
and ROMCC pitfalls in particular, it could take quite a few months.

> * What do we require to make life easy for us? (tools etc)

- POST card
- Serial connector which is attached to the CS5535 or the Winbond SuperIO
- ROM emulator which attaches to the board in place of the flash chip
- FS2 debugger if there are hard-to-debug problems

> Option 2: We pay someone to hack coreboot for us.
> * Is there someone that can do this for us?

Yes, a few coreboot contributors offer such services.

> * What will this cost?

It almost invariably will be cheaper than doing the porting yourself
unless you manage to find well-skilled wage slaves. I do not know how
difficult porting to that particular board will be, but it might be
necessary to switch the code from ROMCC to CAR+GCC which will need quite
some time, but result in better code and better debuggability. AFAIK the
current Frontrunner implementation has no support for PC/104, so that
would have to be written as well.

> Option 3: An alternative to coreboot?
> * Is there an alternative??

Except for proprietary/commerical BIOS, I know of no alternatives for
Geode based boards.
Not really an alternative to coreboot, but an alternative to coreboot v2
would be coreboot v3. It is still in development and does not yet
support the Geode GX, but its structure is a lot cleaner than that of
coreboot v2 and allows adaptation to new boards in a matter of days if
the processor and chipset are supported. Depending on the effort needed
to get v2 working on the Literunner, the package of adding Geode GX
support to v3 and adapting it to the Literunner may be faster+cheaper.

> Option 4: /*Not really an option*/ We buy in one of the commercial bios
> solutions

I'm confident we can help you to avoid that option.


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