[coreboot] DL145G3

samuel samuel.verstraete at gmail.com
Tue Mar 24 18:20:48 CET 2009


For the Xfce [1] project we acquired an HP Proliant DL145G3 to act as
a buildbot [2],[3] (mainly for creating testbuilds of Xfce for
different distro's, unix flavors and different architectures, so to
shorten the release process, and spot compiler problems early in the
development process.

Upon installing the machine I discovered that for some reason HP
decided to disable the hardware virtualization of the machine. I
flashed the bios to the newest available version, tried enabling svm
from userspace and kernel mode code, all to no avail. Contacted HP to
give me a proper bios which didn't succeed either :( . This seem to be
an issue known all of the internet: [4], [5].

As the Xfce project does not have unlimited funds we are kind of
depending on the functionality of this machine. We can't just buy
another server. So either we succeed in enabling kvm for the machine
or we will have to depend on software emulation of virtualization.

That's where coreboot comes into play. If there is any chance in
enabling the hardware virtualization on the processors of this machine
it will have to come from proper firmware, like coreboot. The first
reference to coreboot in the context of this machine was found using
google: [6].
After contacting the author it seems like the port that was made still
had timing issues:
[quote]Das Interrupt Problem, das wir damals hatten war, dass der
Timer Interrupt quasi doppelt so schnell lief, d.h. im laufenden
System verging die Zeit "doppelt so schnell". Ich kann auch nicht
garantieren, dass alle Peripherie laueft, ich glaube wir haben nur
Teile getestet.[/quote]
translated: The interrupt problem that we had back then was that the
timer interrupt ran twice as fast, meaning in a running system the
time passed "twice as fast". I also cannot guarantee that all
peripherials are working, I think we only tested some parts.

It's not entirely clear how severe these "issues" are but I understand
the current patchset is not sufficient to get a production firmware.

So, in the name of the Xfce community, I'd like to invite you to
investigate the possibility to create coreboot port for this machine.
On developing such a firmware we could reward the developer (or any
foundation of his choice) with a 100 euro (which is a part of the
money we raised to upgrade the hardware of the machine)

In the mean time I can provide you with the following hardware information:
cpuinfo [7]
lspci [8]
dmidecode [9]
If more info is required please ask.

Kind regards,

Samuel Verstraete

[1] http://www.xfce.org
[2] http://blog.xfce.org/2008/12/topics-raised-at-uds/
[3] http://gezeiten.org/post/2009/03/Xfce-Buildbot-Server-Call-for-Donations
[4] http://actes.sstic.org/SSTIC08/Rump_sessions/SSTIC08-Rump-Ruff-HP-0.2.pdf
[5] https://forums11.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/questionanswer.do?threadId=1117834
[6] http://ra.ziti.uni-heidelberg.de/coeht/pages/events/20090211/ulrich_bruening.pdf
[7] http://merlin.ugent.be/~samuel/dl145g3/cpuinfo.txt
[8] http://merlin.ugent.be/~samuel/dl145g3/lspci.txt
[9] http://merlin.ugent.be/~samuel/dl145g3/dmidecode.txt

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