[coreboot] CTL Chromebook info

Paul Menzel paulepanter at users.sourceforge.net
Fri Jul 11 08:50:51 CEST 2014

Am Donnerstag, den 10.07.2014, 13:45 -0400 schrieb Richard A. Smith:
> The CTL education chromebook has recently popped up on one of the 
> associated OLPC mailing lists.
> http://ctl.net/education-chromebook/
> Now that XO laptops are getting hard to come by it's being evaluated as 
> a replacement for the XO by smaller deployments.
> Anyone know if these run coreboot and how locked down they are?

As Stefan replied, Google did a great job by getting coreboot running on
it, by using an Embedded Controller (EC) with the free firmware Chrome
EC, by even having native graphics initialization, I believe, so the
proprietary Video BIOS/VGA Option ROM does not have to run, and to make
it easy to get into developer mode and to install on the device what you

Unfortunately Intel is used on the device, so several binary blobs have
to be used like the firmware for the Intel Management Engine (ME) or the
Memory Reference Code (MRC). Please see the coreboot Wiki page *Binary
situation* [1].

Also keep in mind that a lot of the code by Google is not upstreamed and
only available in the Chromium Git repositories.

On AMD, until Family 15 (Trinity) binary BLOBs problems do not exist to
that extent as the AGESA platform initialization (PI) code has been
submitted by AMD to coreboot under the MIT license. Unfortunately no AMD
based Chromebooks exist and there are also only a few AMD based laptops.
On these you would have problems with no free Embedded Controller
firmware and no free graphics initialization, so you currently have to
run the proprietary Video BIOS/VGA Option ROM. For xHCI you’ll also need
non-free firwmare [2].

Unfortunately, for the latest AMD devices, AMD changed their policy and
only provides binary BLOBs for platform initialization (PI) [3]. In
contrast to Intel, the datasheets are still available though and if you
are a big customer you can request access to the AGESA source code. Also
talks exist with AMD to get them to revert that decision, so fingers

There are also ARM based Chromebooks for sale, which do not have to use
these BLOBs. These are shipped with U-Boot as far as I know. To some
(all?) of these, coreboot has been ported too though. You have to check
the Chromium git repositories again though.



[1] http://www.coreboot.org/Binary_situation
[2] http://review.coreboot.org/6219/
[3] http://review.coreboot.org/6218/

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