[coreboot] Intel rumers spreading??

Peter Stuge peter at stuge.se
Tue Jul 1 02:46:48 CEST 2008


On Tue, Jul 01, 2008 at 08:00:15AM +0800, Star Liu wrote:
> Is the rumor me?

No. But because there have been many inquiries about support for
recent Intel hardware in a short time, maybe your message was
interpreted as indication of a starting trend.

> If it's me, I'd like the tell what the inside is.
> I'm a newbie in free software development, and I'd like to start my
> free software development from the coreboot project.

Great! You are very welcome. I hope you will like it as much as we
do. :) It is a lot of fun!

> In China, so many people(more than a half) use intel cpus, and most
> of them are above P4, including me.

I don't know the statistics for Sweden where I am, but Intel systems
are popular here too.

> So when i found coreboot only support intel cpu up to PIII, I'm
> very curious, and willing to make it support intel cpus above P4.
> That's why I asked so many questions about intel cpu.

I believe curiosity and desire to improve is the true spirit of open
source! But as Jordan wrote, it is far from trivial to add support
for new CPUs and chipsets, even when the documentation is available.

You asked how come Linux works on Intel CPUs without documentation
and the answer is that Linux doesn't need it. At least not the same
documentation. Linux relies heavily on the boot firmware (BIOS or
coreboot or something else) to do many tasks in order to make the
system run in a stable way, and because the firmware must take care
of this setup, Linux does not need the documentation.

The major tasks are:

* Start and tune the RAM controller
* Start and tune all buses in the system

These two high-level tasks may seem simple, but they quickly branch
into many things that must be taken into consideration in the code.

> I don't think lack of support to something of coreboot will
> discourage people involve in, for me, I just want to make practice,

Please do not feel discouraged. We only want to share our experience
from previous work, because it is difficult to estimate the effort
that is required for extending coreboot. In general, it has not been
easy to get information from Intel for their recent CPUs and
chipsets. As others have confirmed, it is certainly not impossible to
get good info from Intel if the circumstances are right, but I think
the project and it's individual contributors are still far away from
that situation.

AMD on the other hand are being very helpful, and as a result there
is much better support for their products in coreboot. Also, more
time is spent working on improvements related to AMD CPUs and

Best regards


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