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AMD Open Source Hardware Linux

AMD To Support Coreboot On All Upcoming Processors 134

Posted by timothy
from the you-had-me-at-hello dept.
nukem996 writes "AMD has just announced that they will be supporting Coreboot (previously LinuxBIOS) on all upcoming processors." That means a flexible Free software BIOS replacement with a nice list of benefits.
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AMD To Support Coreboot On All Upcoming Processors

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  • Re:And? (Score:5, Informative)

    by oxygene2k2 (615758) on Monday May 09, 2011 @08:13AM (#36070986)

    AMD made their platform code work for coreboot. That is, the same code they ship to board and BIOS makers, they release to coreboot, and even went the extra mile to integrate it.

    Intel doesn't support coreboot. In fact, they hinder us and we'll have to get each bit of information out of the hardware or by massive coercion. Every support of Intel hardware in coreboot exists despite Intel's efforts.

  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Monday May 09, 2011 @08:20AM (#36071076) Homepage Journal

    The problem is not the CPU support, is support for the motherboard...

    But the MB manufs won't move until chipset CPU/manufacturers also support the type BIOS.

    Do not get me wrong, but if that Coreboot want to replace the BIOS of a motherboard then it should necessarily be 100% compatible, nothing less. How can they say that for example the Coreboot is compatible with the Asus A8N-E, when only one SATA port works and PCI-E 16X do not work?

    Yes, you have missed something. Check the server motherboard compatibility list. It is much much more "up-to-date." Apparently people who are struggling most with the carp of proprietary BIOSs are the admins of data centers and server farms. Thus the developer's bias. Me, desktop user, is not on their roadmap.

  • Not exactly (Score:4, Informative)

    by DrYak (748999) on Monday May 09, 2011 @09:18AM (#36071618) Homepage

    It used to be the case before :
    Most of the functionality (controlling memory, etc.) was done by the chipset on the motherboard. The CPU being almost only a dumb number-crunching unit.
    So the BIOS was needed to help initialize this chipset and was mostly tailored to the mother board.

    Nowadays, not only CPU cores have much more feature requiring some initialization (sleep states, speed stepping, etc.),
    but even some of the functionnality of the chipset, mainly the north bridge, has moved into the CPU.
    Low-latency memory controller, sometimes HyperTransport or Quickpath controller, sometimes PCIe controller : All these are now on the same silicon as the CPU (or at least inside the same package for some earlies Intel attempts). On the motherboard, only the south-bridge (lower speed controllers like : the rest of the PCIe, eSATA, old-school PCI, USB, LPC, I2C, etc.) is present and communicates through a standard protocol with the CPU (Hypertransport for AMD, either Quickpath or rebranded PCIe for Intel).

    Thus to support a "chipset" (What you're thinking about), you need to both support the northbridge inside the CPU, and the southbridge on the motherboard (as well as a few extra chips which might be useful for booting such as : GPU or serial I/O to display messages, additional mass-storage controllers, ethernet interfaces for networked boot and/or remote diagnostic, etc.)
    TFA mentions that AMD works to support both north and south of them, over the enitre product range, from lightweight low-power netbook CPU + Southbridges, all the way to server combination.

  • Re:And? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Barefoot Monkey (1657313) on Monday May 09, 2011 @09:56AM (#36071988)

    Yes, that's what I was thinking too. I recently wrote my own bootloader for a project. It honestly took me less time to do it from scratch (copy kernel from flash to mem, jump to it, done) than to read, understand and customize Coreboot or U-Boot or one of the many everything but the kitchen sink boot projects.

    What you made is a second-stage bootloader. All those really need to do is load some other program into memory and then transfer control to it. Coreboot is a primary bootloader - it handles starting up the computer, setting up the memory and CPU modes, testing harware, providing services such as the hard-drive access that your loader would need, and finally loading your secondary loader for you. Your job was easy because there wasn't much left to do.

    Coreboot is more complicated than your loader because yours was piggybacking off something else, whereas Coreboot is that something else on which other people's loaders rely.

    I'm not sure if I explained that well, but I hope it helped.

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