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AMD GNU is Not Unix Open Source Linux

AMD Provides Fusion Support For Coreboot 71

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the rms-will-be-pleased dept.
An anonymous reader writes "AMD has done a big code drop providing Fusion support for Coreboot, the project that once was called LinuxBIOS for providing an open source BIOS implementation." A lack of vendor support has long made the task of the coreboot developers difficult. Support for what is slated to be a common chipset is pretty encouraging, and will hopefully make it easier to run an entirely Free Software system for diehards like RMS.
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AMD Provides Fusion Support For Coreboot

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  • Wait! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by otravi (1289804) on Friday March 04, 2011 @01:29PM (#35382098)

    What's this? A Phoronix article where I _don't_ have to click through eleven other articles to find the source?

    Other than that: Hopefully this will make coreboot's future brighter, by a lot.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Friday March 04, 2011 @01:35PM (#35382194)
    Open source altruism aside, i want a stable, flexible, fast-booting BIOS. The standard BIOS that comes with most motherboards is awful, and is frequently missing important features.
    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Open source altruism aside, i want a stable, flexible, fast-booting BIOS. The standard BIOS that comes with most motherboards is awful, and is frequently missing important features.

      What's so wrong with your motherboard's BIOS? What features is it missing?

      What brand and model motherboard do you have? I'm predicting it's not an Asus board, because Asus has awesome BIOSes.

      • Re:Speed (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ant P. (974313) on Friday March 04, 2011 @02:20PM (#35382726) Homepage

        I've got a Jetway mini-ITX, and its BIOS/ACPI is so FUBAR that they managed to break *all* power management stuff along with access to the temperature sensor and fan speed controls. Y'know, the main reasons for buying a low-speed mini-ITX in the first place.

        And unlike all other mobo manufacturers I've used (Asus is good, and so is Gigabyte), this one seems to never, ever put out updates to fix their broken firmware, let alone add features to it.

        • Funny, I've used their Atom boards to build lots of firewall devices. The BIOS has always worked exactly as expected for me.

      • by dow (7718)

        Really? I have an Asus board and although it has lots of features, it takes longer to POST than it does for Win7 to boot from an SSD harddrive. When I go into setup, it doesn't look much different than the BIOS of twenty years ago. I had a board back around '96 which gave me a pseudo WIMP environment. For 2010 when I bought the board, this is poor.

        Maybe Asus have awesome BIOS's compared to most other manufacturers, but it is still a turd.

      • by Zoxed (676559)

        > What's so wrong with your motherboard's BIOS?

        I am guessing that what the parent real wants is what I would like: the ability to boot directly into the OS (esp. Linux), and not via a 2 stage boot via the BIOS.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        So, I like the BIOS on my two ASUS motherboards, although they are lacking in one area - speed.

        The problem is that all the various RAID controllers each add their own startup delay with their own keyboard shortcuts. My server has two of them, so it takes something like 10 seconds before GRUB launches, and that is with memory scan disabled. I'm not even using any of the RAID features in the BIOS - I'm just using the controllers to attach normal drives.

        A second here and a second there and 5 vendor display s

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Oh, and that CR-48 boot time includes the use of TPM trusted-boot and drive encryption... Granted, the flash also helps quite a bit there, but I'm sure several people spent a month staring at bootchart to get it polished.

      • by toddestan (632714)

        I have a computer with an Intel 945GNT. The chipset supports the Core 2 processors, but the BIOS only supports the Socket 775 Pentium 4, Pentium D, and the associated Celerons. Dropping in one of the last generation Core 2 Duos could be a cheap and huge boost to that machine, if the board would take it.

        As for Asus, their stuff is junk. I had a board (that was actually part of one of their barebones kits) where you couldn't manually set the memory speed, and it detected the speed of the installed memory w

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I don't know about anyone else but I'm pissed that Gateway turned off AMD-V in the Athlon 64 L110 in my netbook. The chipset (R690M) is supported by coreboot, so one way I may prowl for JTAG so I can start testing coreboot images. Gateway tells me I can open a paid support ticket to get BIOS with AMD-V, but god knows how many hours it would take. If I still worked for an enterprise that used them I would just claim it was owned by the business and maybe get help that way but it's been a while. Coreboot is m

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Interesting. Most BIOS I've seen have had too many features, leading to the slow booting that you noted.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        In their implementation it is slow indeed,
        However coreboot has shown that all hardware can be booted in under 1 seconds, that includes your ethernet and or wireless. That's pretty awesome for almost instant on systems like htpc's and such which would have a very tiny POST boot with trimmed linux. We're talking about 5 seconds till a machine is ready.

        • That's impressive for sure! But what about hitting the magic button on the keyboard to tell the BIOS that you want to change some settings? That doesn't leave much time at all.

          • by SScorpio (595836)

            You could do what some BIOSes already do, which is hold down a key. Just hold down the key as you turn the computer on and it would go into the settings menu.

            • by X0563511 (793323)

              The other option I've seen is a switch or jumper on the board itself that enables the pause-n-prompt - without that set, it skips right past that.

              That sure wasted me some time when I was trying to figure what the hell was going on - but after I saw it, I thought it was ingenious.

              Wish I could remember what hardware I saw that on.

          • by xOneca (1271886)
            Look at the mobile phones: switch on pressing another "magic" key and you are at the ROM programming menu.
    • Why are they still making PCs with BIOSes?
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      PCs are incredibly complex, and this causes the otherwise simple boot code to be complex. Supporting outdated 16-bit modes and other backwards compatibility, being required to boot up and provide initial drivers and support for most systems, providing OS functions in case the real OS is lazy, keeping backwards compatibility with bugs, providing a simple user interface to do all the configuration, network booting support, and so on. There's a lot that can go wrong and undoubtedly tons of legacy firmware.

      One

      • by badran (973386)

        True, but this exact same design process made things so cheap that people like you and me can actually own something so powerful at home.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        True. I wonder just how fast and effecent you could make something like the Atom if you dropped all the old odds and ends that it has to support. Things like 8087, MMX, 286 instructions, and just had it support 64bit mode.
        Yes a lot of stuff would not run anymore but for say the mobile market and embedded it could be a real winner.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Or some other "architecturally pure" design?? :)

          Though I kind of agree with you, keep 32bit mode.

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            The 32bit mode is short of GP registers. But keeping it as a compromise solution for a while might be good. Just drop the 8087, MMX, and all the 16bit and segment crap.
            The reason for keeping the 86-64 ISA is simple. Code you compile for the 64bit only chip will work just fine and dandy on the current CPUs we have now.
            But Yea I would love to see the Alpha back but that will not give you the easy compatibility.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          True. I wonder just how fast and effecent you could make something like the Atom if you dropped all the old odds and ends that it has to support. Things like 8087, MMX, 286 instructions, and just had it support 64bit mode.
          Yes a lot of stuff would not run anymore but for say the mobile market and embedded it could be a real winner.

          Intel has such a platform, I think it was called Pine Trail or something. It was an Atom CPU that had no PCI bus and was designed for mobile applications. It can boot Linux and doe

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            I meant, if you're running Android and having to do all sorts of tricks to save power, you might as well just save the complexity and use an ARM processor anyhow...

  • Does this mean Parallels already supports Coreboot?
  • "system for diehards like RMS" and me
  • Thanks, AMD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday March 04, 2011 @03:12PM (#35383366) Homepage Journal

    That's very nice. Of course, there's more to motherboard support than the chipset and CPU, but they are two major hurdles.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    >will hopefully make it easier to run an entirely Free Software system for diehards like RMS.

    Whut? you do NOT have to be a "diehard like RMS" to want a system that boots nearly instantly, or a system that allows you to set default power management values before the OS comes up, or a system that makes bios updates via network easy (clusters comes to mind), or make BIOS changes without a monitor hooked up etc etc.

    If you bothered to look at the technical reasons to run Coreboot rather than trying to sneak i

  • by KonoWatakushi (910213) on Friday March 04, 2011 @07:13PM (#35385650)

    It may come as a surprise, but right now, someone else owns your entire platform. The BIOS/EFI do not merely boot the system, they also provide run time services in the form of System Management Mode [wikipedia.org].

    That's right, your system is running black box code at runtime. The TPM already lives there, and if you are "lucky", the future malware will be limited to DRM which can't be circumvented, or systems that only run signed code. The implications for security are staggering, and considering that modern systems even have access to your network from this code, the opportunity for abuse is truly frightening. (How trivial would it be for your government--or the manufacturers in China--to install backdoors, remote key logging facilities, or root kits and such?)

    Support Coreboot, so that we may retain control of our own systems. Many thanks to its authors for their persistence, and AMD for their generous contributions. For further information, there was also an interesting google talk [youtube.com] a while back.

  • Screw the paranoia and extremist ideology... I WANT REMOTE MANAGEMENT, DAMMIT.

    Maybe 15 years ago, x86 was the red-headed step child... the ONE hardware platform without out-of-band management built-in. Every other platform out there redirected the IO on boot-up to the first serial port, at least if it didn't detect a keyboard plugged-in. And you know what? You could configure every damn option the hardware had, at that first firmware command-prompt, over the serial port. Hell, I ran numerous servers t

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