[coreboot] Dell Latitude D820

Corey Osgood corey.osgood at gmail.com
Thu Apr 21 01:55:22 CEST 2011

On Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 9:07 AM, Philippe LeCavalier
<support at plecavalier.com> wrote:
> Excerpts from Stefan Reinauer's message of Tue Apr 19 21:30:35 -0400 2011:
>> * Philippe LeCavalier <support at plecavalier.com> [110419 20:22]:
> [..]
>> If your BIOS works for you, you should consider keeping it.
>> Porting coreboot to a new mainboard is a significant effort and you will
>> have to make sure you have ways to recover from failure (i.e. get your
>> external flash writer and/or soldering iron ready)
> hm. I see. I was hoping the worst case would be flashing it back to the
> original BIOS. A soldering gun is a bit extreme considering my current
> setup works just fine.
>> However, in some cases you can get to sub second firmware boot times
>> with coreboot. And it is open source, so you can add or remove whatever
>> feature you require or not.
> Despite the aforementioned this is still somewhat appealing to me.
> [..]
> To ensure I fully comprehend the risk here...Backing up the BIOS isn't
> my insurance policy; I'd actually have to replace the chip? Once I've
> got a clear understanding of the worst-case scenario I'll feel stronger
> about making a decision.

Where this is a laptop, the flash chip will definitely be soldiered
onto the motherboard. Also, you will definitely have an embedded
controller (EC), and that will keep flashrom from working out of the
box, so you'll need either an external flash programmer (most likely
an SPI flash chip) or to do quite a bit of digging and legwork to
figure out how to poke the embedded controller to allow access to the
flash chip (and then remove the flash chip and put in a socket, or
else hack together something to switch between two flash chips). Also,
don't expect to find datasheets on the embedded controller, they're
typically covered by some fairly restrictive NDAs.

The EC also will come into play during hardware init, so you'll also
need to figure out how to initialize it. You may need to initialize it
before you can even initialize the ram.

See also http://www.coreboot.org/Laptop


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