[flashrom] flashrom-related GSoC 2014 project

Stefan Tauner stefan.tauner at student.tuwien.ac.at
Wed Mar 26 01:53:21 CET 2014

Marc Jones has replied to my GSoC proposals but I really dislike having
conversations on the GSoC website and because we will probably need to
discuss more than just a few corrections, I'll reply here.

The first proposal is about the end user tool:

Marc commented:
> What type of flash or coreboot images would you look at working with? I
> think that the chromebook , Intel FSP and AMD systems have a number of
> different blob requirements now. Would it be Intel descriptor aware?
> What about EFI aware?

Thank you for your questions. To be honest, I don't know the answers
yet. I hope Patrick finds time to discuss this here with me in the next
days/weeks so that I can write a decent specification. In general I
want to investigate all possibilities to get a good overview about
essential differences in the work flows and formats. That way I can
make sure that even if I don't implement them all the code can be
extended appropriately later.

I know the Intel layout best so far due to my work on the
ich_descriptors_tool (which Stepan did not know about when he started
ifdtool), and flashrom's Intel support. Unifying ifdtool and
ich_descriptors_tool and making it reusable/"libify" it could be one
goal of this project. Basically ifdtool supports basic r/w of Intel
images while ich_descriptors_tool is r/o but dumps lots of extra
information (softstraps stored in the descriptor region mostly).
This is not related to the VGABIOS that is (probably?) still stored
somewhere in the BIOS region? The ME and GbE regions are separate and
can be copied over easily AFAIK (if they are readable that is :)

As you know I have an Asrock IMB-A180-H. This would be my main test
target (for AMD hardware), but I don't know how the AMD flow(s) are
regarding blobs. I guess the IMC and USB blobs, and the VGABIOS are
relevant, anything else?

For UEFI I would probably rely on https://github.com/NikolajSchlej/UEFITool
The author was in #flashrom some while ago but I did not really follow
his work.

Regarding chromebooks I am not sure how this tool could help much. For
normal builds the blobs are fetched directly from the 3rd party blob
repository AFAIK? Of course editing a coreboot image afterwards would
also be possible just like for all other boards.

What about chipset-independent ECs?

The second proposal is about general flashrom improvements:

Marc had mentioned that he does not like the title before the final
proposal was made, and I have only changed it a little since then...

> Thanks for this second proposal. I think that a number of these changes
> would be very useful, but the project title leaves something to be
> desired. If accepted, I wouldn't want that to be the title Google used
> when they published the project list.

I do understand that although it sums up the content very well ;)
In its current state it is just a bunch of project ideas without
anything standing out, which makes finding a good title a bit hard.
Would something boring like "Flashrom enhancements" be ok or do you
have a better idea?

But apart from the title... I can of course only work on one of the
proposals, so I would like to know before further discussions if this
one even has a chance of getting selected/what the basic view of the
mentors is regarding my projects. Maybe we can save everyone a bit of
time by focussing on only one of the two.
Kind regards/Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Stefan Tauner

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