[coreboot] Hardware donation for porting Coreboot / FlashROM
yogev.ezra at gmail.com
Fri May 13 16:39:09 CEST 2011
My name is Yogev Ezra from Green Gadgets Ltd, Israel (
Our company specializes in assembly, integration and sales of small fanless
computers, thin clients and industrial systems.
We have two systems that we are willing to donate for porting Coreboot /
FlashROM on them:
1. DM&P / ICOP eBox-3300MX thin client / nettop (based on Vortex86MX CPU
that is x86 compatible - Pentium I MMX clone)
Product page is available at: http://www.compactpc.com.tw/ebox-3300MX.htm
CPU details are here: http://www.dmp.com.tw/tech/vortex86mx/
2. Compulab Fit-PC2 nettop (Intel Atom Z510 / Z530 CPU + US15W chipset).
Product page at: http://www.fit-pc.com/web/fit-pc2/fit-pc2-specifications/
Some datasheets are available here:
http://fit-pc2.com/wiki/index.php/Documentation and here:
Why are we doing that? --- Having more choices for BIOS will benefit the
customers and increase possible usage options. Freeware BIOS will also mean
eventually cheaper systems. In addition, the factory BIOS in both systems
has some issues that we hope to solve with Coreboot:
a) The eBox-3300MX has ROM chip big enough (2MB) to start a small OS
directly from BIOS, so no external storage is needed (I am thinking of
KolibriOS). The factory BIOS can support this option, but the manufacturer
requests extra fee which is too high to justify it.
b) Fit-PC2 occasionally does not recognize SSD disks on boot. Normal
"mechanical" hard disks are always recognized fine. We believe the problem
is in factory BIOS or in bridge-chip BIOS (US15W chipset does not have
native SATA port so Fit-PC2 is using Marvell 88SA8052 PATA-to-SATA bridge
chip). The manufacturer Compulab does not even acknowledge the problem, yet
alone solve it.
Q&A and general terms:
1) The manufacturers of both systems currently do not support, endorse or
allow using Coreboot. We are doing this as our own initiative. Installing
Coreboot instead of factory BIOS will most likely void the manufacturer
2) We do not try this ourselves because flash ROM chips in both systems are
soldered, and we just do not have the qualification and equipment for
de-soldering / re-soldering the chips. We already "bricked" a few systems in
the past, so we prefer to concentrate on our own work and let the
professionals try that.
3) We can supply non-NDA datasheets and more info on request. To receive NDA
datasheets, you will have to sign this directly with manufacturers. Not sure
if manufacturers will agree to that, when you tell them what it's needed for
4) The systems we are donating cost us (a lot of) money, so we would like
them to get into "good" hands, of people that actually can invest time in
porting Coreboot/FlashROM to those systems. If you just want free hardware,
please do not bother.
We can donate up to 5 units of each system, in 3 phases:
Phase I - one unit, should go to someone very knowledgeable to start the
porting from scratch. JTAG knowledge and JTAG programmer is a big plus
(eBox-3300MX has on-board JTAG port. Not sure about Fit-PC2 but probably it
does have too).
Phase II - two more units, once the porting becomes WIP on Supported
Mainboards list (http://www.coreboot.org/Supported_Motherboards), to people
who can help the person from Phase I to fix major bugs
Phase III - two more units to two more people, to fix minor bugs once major
bugs are fixed
The reason we won't donate more than one unit from the beginning is because
of big hardware costs that we just cannot bear, so we would like to see at
least some progress before we can allow to donate more units.
Interested persons that are willing to work on Phase I (and have the
required skills and free time to actually work on this), are welcome to
e-mail me. Other comments are also welcome.
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