[coreboot] coreboot and U-Boot: a comparison

Ken.Fuchs at bench.com Ken.Fuchs at bench.com
Sat Jun 21 00:11:21 CEST 2008

Having worked in a non-trivial way with both LinuxBIOS code and
U-Boot code, I can make a fair comparison of coreboot and U-Boot.

I wish coreboot was as dominant in the x86 market as U-Boot is
in the non-x86 market.  There appear to be several reasons:

1) Technical information flows very freely in the non-x86 market.
2) U-Boot has official stable releases and coreboot doesn't.
3) Das U-Boot had a very early name change from PPCBoot when it
   added non-PPC processor support.  LinuxBIOS had a recent name
   change to coreboot, but that was a huge mistake.  More people
   know about LinuxBIOS that disappeared than know about coreboot.
4) In the non-x86 market, the processor often includes all I/O
   controllers needed by the application.  Often a designer just
   needs to pick the processor variant that contains all the
   I/O controllers he needs.  No chipsets and often no external
   I/O controllers are required for the design.
5) No IBVs (Independent BIOS Vendors = AMI, Phoenix, Insyde,
   General Software, etc.) that dominate (monopolize) the market
   with proprietary firmware/BIOS "solutions".
6) Much of the U-Boot code, especially its device drivers come
   from the corresponding device drivers in the Linux kernel.
7) There seems to be more active development on U-Boot than on
   coreboot based on the activity of their respective mailing
8) U-Boot now has architecture specific git repositories for
   active development available via http protocol that passes
   through most firewalls transparently.  coreboot has a
   single SVN repository that seems to be accessible only
   via the svn protocol which requires that the svn port
   be open on the firewall which is often impossible to get
   approved, since it is a "non-standard" port.

Whether or not you agree with all of these reasons, something
can be done about all of them to varying degrees, ranging from
nothing to completely fixing it.


Ken Fuchs

More information about the coreboot mailing list