[coreboot] [PATCH] [3/7] Roda RK886EX support: SMSC LPC47N227

Stefan Reinauer stepan at coresystems.de
Mon Jan 18 01:29:33 CET 2010

Ron Minnich wrote:
> This has actually happened on coreboot. Older boards with older via NB
> or SB parts stopped working when those chips were modified with newer
> boards. It's very easy to break chip support with innocent-looking
> changes that "can't hurt". Chips are prone to change from rev to rev
> or part to part. Chips are not software.

> I think for chip support forking the support software may look bad
> from a "software engineering" point of view, but is at times the only
> practical option because (to be as polite as possible) the
> implementation of many of these chips is not that great.
We should also keep in mind that these problems occur because people
make newer versions of their chips in a way comparable to how software
designers write software.... If I remember, unix libraries libfoo.so.1
and libfoo.so.2 may have a different API while libfoo.so.1.0 and
libfoo.so.1.1 should not change the API. Just that the API for them is
features of the hardware and electronical attributes. In the cases of
our closed source antagonists, the silicon vendor usually writes the
silicon support code (aka initialization code/BIOS), too. Because of
that they see no significant advantage in making their chips compatible
on an initialization code level across generations.
I think the hilarious part of this is that hardware designers want to
make their hardware as generic as possible and that's what causes work
on the firmware side. We shouldn't lose the twinkle in the eye if we
call that "a hardware design issue"....


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