[coreboot] Doubts about necessity of propietary parts in the firmware

Qing Pei Wang wangqingpei at gmail.com
Wed Apr 14 04:18:50 CEST 2010


On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 5:51 AM, xdrudis <xdrudis at tinet.cat> wrote:

> On Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 09:44:02AM -0600, Marc Jones wrote:
> > Hi Xavi,
> >
> > Thanks for your interest in coreboot. This is a long email! :)
> >
> I'm bad at summarizing. Sorry.
> >
> > VGA BIOS is not required. You could have a headless system. Or a
> > system with a framebuffer driver like Geode.
> >
> Headless would be last resort. If possible I would like to have a
> monitor connected to the system (either mainboard or graphics card)
> and have a desktop there. I don't need video while booting (but I
> would appreciate it, of course). I understand this is possible
> depending on the GPU.  When you say a system with a framebuffer you
> mean any system with linux User Mode Setting should work without
> propietary VGA BIOS ?
i think what marc said means these mainboard which has framebuffer driver.

> > >
> > > Double graphics is a problem ?
> > >
> > > As far as I know the only modern desktop class chipsets supported by
> > > the manufacturer, are AMD RS780/SB700 , am I wrong ? (thanks, AMD!). I
> > > think all come with an ATI IGP , which requires blobs in the linux/X
> > > driver (AtomBIOS).  I may be misinformed on AtomBIOS, but I think I
> > > don't want to use it.  I've heard nouveau has just deblobed its
> > > driver, so I might add an Nvidia graphics card to it (at least while
> > > Open Graphics Project isn't ready for consumers). I'll try to buy one
> > > second hand, as lesser evil, since I dislike buying directly from
> > > vendors not supporting free software. Does having both the ATI IGP and
> > > the Nvidia card give any additional complication ? (besides it's going
> > > to be less tested than more usual setups). I wish Intel supported
> > > coreboot or radeonhd didn't use AtomBIOS (like it once was).
> > >
> >
> > This is a continued area of development, but yes, many drivers use the
> > vbios too hold proprietary information. Again, not an issue if you are
> > running a headless machine.
> >
> Do  you mean deblobing linux/X graphics drivers is a continued area of
> development
> or supporting IGP + graphics card in coreboot (if it needs some speacial
> support
> by corebbot) is a continued area of development ?
> >
> > There is no specific roadmap. This is usually driven by board
> > availability. I think some boards will be ported during GSoC. If you
> > have a preferred board, send an email to the list. Someone might be
> > working on it.
> >
> I don't have a prefered board (yet). I was thinking of picking one
> of the few that people has shown some interest in here in the list.
> That might be best for me as a newbie as I wouldn't be alone even
> if it is not currently supported yet. I'm not sure if it would be
> best for the project (having more that one test instance for the
> same board ) or it would be best to have as many different boards
> to test as possible.
the 780 mainboard which coreboot support now is mahogany. I am trying to
porting a few more
mainboard as GSOC project. the mainboard i choose at this moment is
1)Shine,2)Tilapia,3)Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H,4)ASUS M4A78-VM 5)Colorful
C.A780G X5.
i am aslo checking if i can order an Jetway PA78VM5-H which Scott have much
interests. You can
choose one of them or the other 780 mainboard.

> >
> > I think that DDR3 support will be critical for coreboot this year. I
> > am optimistic that we will get some help from AMD this summer.
> >
> Ok, I can wait, I guess. I can start by the OS, test flashrom
> with the propietary bios, etc. and handle coreboot proper later.
> > >
> > > How to choose socketed boards ?
> > >
> > > How can one know whether a card has socketed or soldered BIOS ROMs
> besides
> > > looking at it or some photos ? Should it be in the specs or manual ?
> > > (I don't trust myself with a soldering iron).
> > >
> >
> > This will usually be in the manual. Many boards are SPI flash now and
> > you need an external programmer with a test clip to program them. This
> > is an area we need to improve on the wiki.
> >
> I had read something (either in coreboot wiki or from some link there)
> but I no longer find it. I thought SPI could be socketed or soldered.
most of the bios with public mainbard are soldered, but you can also use
or external programmer which has test clip. take this as an example

> >
> > These are great goals. It sounds like you have a lot in common with
> > the folks at the FSF. :)
> >
> In goals, we have a lot in common, I'm just less active pursuing them.
> > There are a couple AMD and Intel platforms that might meet your needs.
> Are there ? I've been looking at the supported mainboards and found
> few that I could buy currently in a shop and are relatively
> powerful. I'll look again.
> > I expect more boards (like the 780/710) to be supported this summer if
> > you are willing to wait. I am also hopeful that we see coreboot on
> > systems available from vendors in the future.
> >
> I've already wited quite a lot, and my current laptop is falling
> apart.  So I may buy soon, but I may install coreboot later (I
> understand buying before getting support may be risky). I'd like to
> buy something with coreboot preinstalled, but that may be the next
> system I buy after whatever I get now. In your products page I've seen
> a couple of servers with coreboot I might get, but they're a bit
> expensive for what I was thinking.
> Thanks for your help.
> --
> coreboot mailing list: coreboot at coreboot.org
> http://www.coreboot.org/mailman/listinfo/coreboot

Wang Qing Pei
MSN:wangqingpei at hotmail.com <MSN%3Awangqingpei at hotmail.com>
Gmail:wangqingpei at gmail.com <Gmail%3Awangqingpei at gmail.com>
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