Porting LinuxBIOS to the AMD SC520

Building a Linux system that will boot in seconds, not minutes, requires a custom BIOS. But thanks to a new compiler and development process, we can build a BIOS for a new motherboard with only C code—no assembly.

Failover.c is included in auto.c and is code for managing failover of the fallback BIOS image if the normal BIOS image is corrupted in some way.


PC hardware does not have a defined way of mapping PCI slot interrupt lines to interrupt pins on the interrupt controller. There is a structure in the BIOS called the $PIR structure that the operating system reads to find out how to map interrupts.

The irq_tables.c file has an initialized C structure that defines the connection of the interrupt lines. This structure is compiled into LinuxBIOS and forms the $PIR table.

This file is generated automatically by a utility provided with linuxbios, called getpir. It is found in util/getpir. You run this utility under Linux, when booted under the factory BIOS. The utility prints out the $PIR table as C code. One caveat: we have found that the $PIR tables on many BIOSes have errors. On occasion, we have had to fix the tables to correspond to the actual hardware.


This code is compiled by GCC, not romcc. There is not much to this file right now:

#include <console/console.h>
#include <device/device.h>
#include <device/pci.h>
#include <device/pci_ids.h>
#include <device/pci_ops.h>
#include "chip.h"

struct chip_operations
mainboard_digitallogic_msm586seg_ops = {
  CHIP_NAME("Digital Logic MSM586SEG mainboard ")



This file contains the names of options used for this mainboard. First, all the options to be used are listed, for example:


If the option has some desired value, it may be set in this file:

## Build code for the fallback boot

which sets the option to 1. This option may be overridden in the target file; that is, we can set the following in targets/digitallogic/msm586seg/Config.lb:


and the BIOS can be built without a fallback boot image. In general, the default values set in this file do not need to be changed.

We do need to change the default ROM size, as it is set to 1024*1024 for the other mainboard:

default ROM_SIZE  = 256*1024

Why make this a default? So that a target with a larger ROM size can override it. If you build a target for a 1MB of ROM, you would put the command:

option ROM_SIZE = 256*1024

in the target configuration file.


This file contains code to perform a hard reset of the CPU.

Target Configuration File

Now we add the target directory for the mainboard:

cd targets/digitallogic
mkdir msm586seg
tla add msm586seg
cp adl855pc/Config.lb msm586seg/
tla add Config.lb

We then commit, and the code is in. Next, we fix up the Config.lb for the msm586seg:

target msm586seg
mainboard digitallogic/msm586seg
romimage "normal"
        option USE_FALLBACK_IMAGE=0
        option ROM_IMAGE_SIZE=0x10000
        option LINUXBIOS_EXTRA_VERSION=".0Normal"
        payload /etc/hosts

romimage "fallback"
        option USE_FALLBACK_IMAGE=1
        option ROM_IMAGE_SIZE=0x10000
        option LINUXBIOS_EXTRA_VERSION=".0Fallback"
        payload /etc/hosts


buildrom ./linuxbios.rom ROM_SIZE "normal" "fallback"

The file defines seven basic things:

  1. The target build directory is msm586seg; it could be anything.

  2. The mainboard is the digitallogic/msm586seg.

  3. The default console log level is 10; this controls which compiled-in messages are printed. It can be overridden by the CMOS setting in the normal BIOS image.

  4. The maximum console log level is 10; this controls which print macros are compiled.

  5. The normal romimage is not a fallback image; it is 0x10000 bytes (64KB), has a version tag of .0Normal and has a payload of /etc/hosts.

  6. The fallback romimage is a fallback image; it is 0x10000 bytes (64KB), has a version tag of .0Fallback and has a payload of /etc/hosts.

  7. The ROM target is linuxbios.rom; it has a size of ROM_SIZE, as defined in the mainboard Options.lb above, and has two images in it, normal and fallback.



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just want to try this feature

MR Test's picture

Please remove this just want to see what it did and how?