Coreboot at Your Service!

 in
Don't let your PC's closed-source BIOS stop you from doing what you want with your hardware.

The config file is fairly straightforward. The default payload starts after five seconds, and if nothing is chosen, the default is FILO. The other options are tint or coreinfo (Figure 4 shows it running in QEMU).

Next, make a directory for the payloads, put them into it, and then run make:

$ ls -l payloads

-rwxr-xr-x 1 ab users 47004 2009-01-03 11:59 coreinfo.elf
-rwxr-xr-x 1 ab users 71440 2009-01-09 21:35 filo.elf
-rwxr-xr-x 1 ab users 49298 2009-01-10 09:40 tint.elf
-rwxr-xr-x 1 ab users 74334 2009-01-10 19:22 seabios.elf

$ make

Now, run image in QEMU, and you can play Tetris from the BIOS (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Take a rest—Tetris running from the BIOS.

Conclusion

Coreboot allows you to replace your motherboard's proprietary BIOS with a free and open-source BIOS. Coreboot already can boot Windows XP and Windows Vista as well as FreeBSD, Plan9 and, of course, Linux. Operating systems can be started from local disks, from a network connection or even from a serial port. Although it's not yet feature-complete, coreboot provides a base for building more flexible BIOSes.

Anton Borisov lives and works in Russia. Always fond of low-level programming, he has devoted his PhD work to the economic analysis of the advantages and ROI of custom-made firmware.

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Some clarifications

Cristi Măgherușan's picture

Hi there,

@Anonymous: there's a list of supported hardware. Basically if your motherboard's components are already supported, the motherboard shouldn't be very hard to get working, but if this isn't the case, the needed work can be quite consistent.

@Boris: The v3 was dropped in favor of v2 and is now unmaintained (except for Via Epia targets). Many of v3's features were backported to v2, which still has much better hardware support than v3.

The coreboot wiki page is a good reading, and the people from the IRC channel or from the mailinglist are a great source of help also.

Thank you for the

bam's picture

Thank you for the article.
Could you try to boot the latest trunk version? I've tried to boot trunk svn revision 4974 but can't get even serial output from my epia-m.

Does it work on my box?

Anonymous's picture

How the heck can I find out whether coreboot will work on my machine? I'm using Linux, of course.

superiotool don't recognize my super i/o

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