[coreboot] coreboot and embedded controllers, for example OLPC and its OpenEC code

Frieder Ferlemann frieder.ferlemann at web.de
Fri Jun 27 01:02:18 CEST 2008


Uwe Hermann schrieb:
> The SMSC FDC37N958FR, a datasheet is on the web. See
> http://www.coreboot.org/Dell_Latitude_CPi_A366XT_Build_Tutorial for some
> more (but not too many) details.

That one looks interesting - I did not expect the 8051 to be
able to f.e. take over full control of the PC's parallel port!)

While control over the parallel port today probably only has
some geek value it shows to me that some _serious_ tasks would
have been possible with this (probably around 2001) hardware
without switching on the main CPU.
Likely the 8051 of that very hardware has comparable CPU power to
early 198x home computer hardware. Not too bad!

This 2001 potential is simply not used / is not available to users
of a 2008 (TwoThousandAndEight) PC or notebook.
A rather long time in tech terms..
Worse: To my experience nowadays user is not even likely to be able
to control what the system fan does.
(Hmm, I admit this statement relates to my limited experience
with a pretty recent Gigabyte AM2+ board.)

The disparity of the potential of the Embedded Controller
and the things the user can actually do with it
is (IMHO as things currently are) only bound to grow.

There are high hurdles to be taken but given this growing disparity
at some point in time an Open Source EC simply _is_ attractive.


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