[coreboot] GSoC project ideas

Carl-Daniel Hailfinger c-d.hailfinger.devel.2006 at gmx.net
Sat Mar 10 21:27:41 CET 2012


given the lack of affordable and available hardware tools for coreboot
development, I propose to look for a different set of projects this
year: Tools which would help developers, and which are usable especially
with current hardware. A list of ideas follows.

- Flash ICE device with SPI support.
- Flash ICE device with LPC/FWH support.
- Serial emulation for LPC buses on a configurable I/O port with USB
output on the other side.
- Dual serial emulation for two LPC buses either on the same device or
with two identical devices and a fast bus in between.
- Serial emulation for PCI buses (i.e. PCI/serial card).

The reason for the flash ICE devices is obvious: Avoid external
reflashing while you're developing.

The serial emulation or similar POST code port emulation is meant to
provide a serial console, a SerialICE connection and/or some POST code
output channel. This is especially important for laptops where debugging
can be a pain and where you usually have a LPC bus available in the
MiniPCIe slot.

The dual serial emulation for two LPC buses would work as a fast
PC-to-PC connection for SerialICE and other purposes where you need low
latency, not necessarily high throughput.

The serial emulation for PCI buses would complement the serial emulation
for LPC to provide an easy way to connect to a SerialICE instance on the
other side.

As a basis for all those ideas I'd propose the Openbench logic sniffer.
It has a fast FPGA, enough gates and roughly 32 kByte RAM. The FPGA is
fast enough and big enough to accommodate the necessary logic, and we
could easily attach a fast (66+ MHz) SPI flash chip to it. And with $50
incl. shipping the OLS is not extremely cheap, but worth its price and
easily available. Fast flash chips are also available for reasonable prices.

All of those projects would not result in any coreboot code, but they
would make development easier, and that's a value in itself, especially
now that we're porting coreboot to laptops where a LPC bus may be the
only easily available bus at startup.

Comments? Do we have mentors who can review VHDL/Verilog?


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