Benefits

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Note: This page is work in progress!

Benefits

  • 100% Free Software (GPL), no royalties, no license fees!
  • Fast boot times (3 seconds from power-on to Linux console)
  • Avoids the need for a slow, buggy, proprietary BIOS
  • Runs in 32-Bit protected mode almost from the start
  • Written in C, contains virtually no assembly code
  • Supports a wide variety of hardware and payloads
  • Further features: netboot, serial console, remote flashing, ...

Possible Advantages

  • Some BIOSes don't enable hardware virtualization features (AMD / Intel), thus you cannot use that feature of your hardware (e.g. for XEN, KVM, etc).
  • Some BIOSes don't enable HPET (can be used by Linux for enhanced power-saving features, e.g. on laptops), see linuxpowertop.org.
  • TPMs...

All of this is (or can be) fixed in coreboot, as it's open source. With a proprietary BIOS you're dependant on the good-will of the vendor to fix these issues.

coreboot features proprietary BIOSes usually lack

  • Boot from NAND Flash (and other nonstandard media), which most proprietary BIOSes don't support
  • Debugging output on the serial console
  • ...

Some anecdotes where coreboot saved the day

  • The "Press F1 to continue" error on a cluster (without a single keyboard attached).
  • Improved Fan control behaviour: http://www.coreboot.org/pipermail/coreboot/2007-May/021128.html
  • On the VIA EPIA MII-6000 and the EPIA-10000 coreboot can boot from CompactFlash, whereas the proprietary BIOS is known to not support this.
  • ...

Later: categories

End Users

Developers

Hardware Vendors

System Integrators