[coreboot] M.Sc. thesis on x86 firmware alternatives

Svante Ekholm svante.ekholm at crosscontrol.com
Mon Jan 9 11:12:24 CET 2012

Hello, community!

Over the last six months I've been working on my M.Sc. thesis: Controlling the Bootstrap Process: Firmware Alternatives for an x86 Embedded Platform. The thesis is now complete and is available from http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?searchId=1&pid=diva2:469328 . The text explores the feasibility of firmware engineering on a lower-tier OEM level with the aims of achieving control of the firmware and boot time optimization. It evaluates the current state of x86 firmware engineering and market, including the legacy BIOS, the UEFI standard, and most importantly: the coreboot project. It also looks (briefly) at commercial products such as the Intel Boot Loader Development Kit and the Congatec BIOS Utility. A prototype bootloader using coreboot+SeaBIOS is constructed and tested for a rugged, embedded, Core 2 Duo-based computer using a Kontron ETX module.

On another note: There has long been a lack of good introductory material into x86 firmware engineering. In the thesis there is a rather large theory section, covering PCI interrupt handling, ACPI, legacy BIOS, UEFI and coreboot. I've decided to release this portion under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa license to the community. I hope that this text can act as a ramp for introducing new people into the subject and you are welcome to help expand it. Peter Stuge will be setting up a git repository for the source of this introduction. The material is until then available at http://xerent.lokalen.org/files/firmware.pdf and http://xerent.lokalen.org/files/firmware-source.zip .

Best regards,

Svante Ekholm Lindahl
Embedded Software Developer

dir:          +46 271 75 76 27
sms:        +46 730 73 33 42

CrossControl AB
Norra Ösavägen 11B
822 22 Alfta, Sweden

CrossControl - Humans in control

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