[LinuxBIOS] LinuxBIOS on Laptops.
bari at onelabs.com
Mon Sep 4 01:11:50 CEST 2006
Guido Fiala wrote:
> In the age of USB i wonder if we still need a keyboard/mouse controller for
> other than that.
> How would a (linux) mainboard look like? Is there a parts list, e.g. one for
> desktop, one for laptop that would be great?
Look for laptops that have the firmware Flash write enable lines
controlled only by the chipset and not also by the keyboard/system
management controller. This will allow a developer to rewrite the Flash
with LinuxBIOS. Most efforts to port LinuxBIOS on laptops in the past
could not get past this hurdle.
Designing and manufacturing for a laptop for mass market using LinuxBIOS
is simple. The bill of material and hardware design are the same as a
laptop using a closed source BIOS. Laptop mainboards are typically
manufactured in high volumes in single runs (much the same as
desktop/platform mainboards). The LinuxBIOS would be developed for the
mainboard during the design stage of the project and then programmed
into the flash before manufacture or after the flash devices are
installed on the boards.
There hasn't been much demand for laptops to have LinuxBIOS yet. The
first major project to demand LinuxBIOS on a laptop has probably been
the OLPC project. I doubt if Quanta had much experience with or
knowledge of LinuxBIOS before OLPC.
The keyboard scan/system management controllers also use closed source
firmware. Multikey is one example. It is used for port swap and hot
plug of keyboard and mouse, power management, battery charging,
Flash-BIOS control, SMbus, Gate A20, Security, hotkeys, etc.
Renesas is one vendor of micros that are used in laptops:
For more Multikey info:
More information about the coreboot