[coreboot] Sun Ultra 40 M2 Board - Obscured coreboot status

Bostjan Kravcar bostjan.ign.k at t-2.si
Thu Jul 19 16:52:39 CEST 2018

Greetings everyone,


To begin with - I solemnly swear that I did my »homework«, to the best of my abilities, by digging long and hard through all the available sources pertaining the coreboot project (coreboot.org website, mailing lists, announcements, release notes, GitHib pages, etc.). Inspite the wealth of information, I failed to find the answers to my questions. 


A brief intro, if I may;


By strict definition of the coreboot project, I'm neither an end-user, nor a developer, even less so an OEM associate/employee … just a »common« user, with just enough expertise in computer HW and SW, to be able to contribute by posting (hopefully) relevant an useful test results. The keyword is »persistence«, the willingness (read: stubborn) to tinker and experiment for hours or days on end, until I get to the bottom of things, or at least try out everything possible, before I surrender unwillingly … for the time being.


I've been following the coreboot project for about two years now (on and off), mainly due to prospect, to get the coreboot flashed onto the board of Sun Ultra 40 M2 workstation, the puchase of which I've been contemplating for a while. The excitement about the coreboot was not just for the sake of getting faster and safer BIOS (not to mention free and open source), but first and foremost to make the Quad and Six-Core Opterons (Barcelona, Shanghai, Instanbul) to work on this board. The last time I checked the status for the Ultra 40 M2 board, on the coreboot project website, there were still quite a few things, marked as either not working, or untested, or as WIP. That wouldn't have bothered me a great deal, if it had not been for the date of the last update, given on the status page - July 2015.


Just recently I started to dig deeper again, into the coreboot documentation and various sources (mostly GitHub). At first, things started to look brighter, when I came accross the 4.3 Release Notes (board officially added to the coreboot), but after some further reading, things pertaining the status of this board got murky and really confusing, to the point that at this moment I have absolutely no idea, whether the board is still supported, and if it isn't, why it was removed. It is still listed in the 4.8_branch on GitHub, but no longer in the Master Branch. I browsed through all the announcements on the relevant coreboot mailing lists (coreboot, coreboot-announce, coreboot-gerrit), but I couldn't find a single word or text line, announcing deprecation of support for the Ultra 40 M2 board. 


I'm enclosing a summary of my findings in the document attached, along with the last available status page for the Sun Ultra 40 M2 board, before the coreboot project website was reconstructed, and the status page "Board:sunw/ultra40m2" vanished from the coreboot.org website. Questions that bug me are reaching beyond just "supported" or "not supported", as these terms fail to tell me a number of things.  For instance:


1.)    Were those »NO«/ »Untested«/ »WIP« fields in the Board:sunw/ultra40m2 status table ever resolved/fixed, before the port was pushed for review and the board got included in the v4.3 ? If not, what functionalities were left unresolved, for the later work (WIP) ?


2.)    Was the board confirmed to work with all Quad/Six-Core Opterons (Series 2300 and 2400), or just with a handful of those ? If later, is there a list of tested Opteron CPUs, confirmed to work properly on Ultra 40 M2 board ?


A list of non-working Opterons would be helpful as well, accompanied by at least a short info, explaining why the don't work (or possibly never will, for any given reason).


Looking forward to receive some first-hand insight, about the present-day coreboot status of this Sun board ...


Kind regards,




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