[coreboot] LinuxTag presentation highlights

Carl-Daniel Hailfinger c-d.hailfinger.devel.2006 at gmx.net
Thu May 22 18:23:37 CEST 2008


if you know of any cool features in coreboot, flashrom, buildrom,
libpayload, coreinfo etc., please list them in response to this mail.
Since I'm working almost exclusively on v3 and flashrom, I'm bound to
miss the exciting news/features in other areas, so please help me out.

Exciting coreboot features are:
1. Almost every (free) operating system can be used as a payload in ROM
2. Having an OS in ROM means it works even if HDD/UDB/NIC are broken
3. Logging in with SSH is possible regardless of the brokenness of local
storage if the payload has a SSH server or can load one via network
4. Security against viruses/malware: If write protection for the ROM is
active (and can't be circumvented), the OS in ROM can't be compromised
5. Improved diagnostics: We don't rely on the usual cryptic and
uninformative beep codes, but output meaningful english error and debug
messages via the serial port
6. Error and status messages are saved in RAM (v3 only) and can be read
by the OS during or after boot with a dmesg-like mechanism
7. Extemely high speed: We have a record of ~600 ms from poweron to
bootloader, which is in stark contrast to the 10-30 seconds for
proprietary BIOS
8. Anything supported by the hardware can be supported by coreboot: Some
universities use the second processor socket of a dual processor board
for a FPGA instead f a processor
9. The code is written almost completely in C with ~100 lines assembly
remaining per architecture, compared to pure assembly for proprietary BIOS
10. Recompilation of the whole firmware with arbitrary features takes
10-30 seconds (v3 only)
11. You decide which features (EFI/OpenFirmware/BIOS/etc) you want, the
vendor can't limit you

Exciting flashrom features are:
1. No reboot needed for BIOS update
2. No DOS/Windows needed for BIOS update
3. Cross-flashing is possible
4. Hot-flashing is possible


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