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Old 12-23-2010, 09:27 AM
Kfir Lavi
 
Default boot linux without a bios on intel platform

On Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 11:20 AM, Manuel Lauss <manuel.lauss@googlemail.com> wrote:

On Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 9:25 AM, Kfir Lavi <lavi.kfir@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi,

> I'm facing a problem.

> I have an intel board, and the bios boots after 22sec.

> Is it possible to boot the linux without a bios.

> Maybe have grub jump from an eeprom or something.



Is coreboot an option for your system?



Manuel



There is a support for a kontron board, but my guess is that I would need to integrate a new support.
This is something I don't want to do if it's hard and will take time.
I have also an option to ask for lean bios. I think they are able to reduce bios code.

What I'm still not sure is if just the dram and the ide/sata is enough for linux.

Regards,
Kfir
 
Old 12-23-2010, 10:55 AM
Peter Stuge
 
Default boot linux without a bios on intel platform

Kfir Lavi wrote:
> What I'm still not sure is if just the dram and the ide/sata is
> enough for linux.

It is nowhere near enough. Firmware must also initialize and
enumerate all system busses, which usually means the CPU-chipset
interconnect, and PCI. And if you want video you must run the binary
blob that is the VGA BIOS.


//Peter
 
Old 12-23-2010, 01:33 PM
Kfir Lavi
 
Default boot linux without a bios on intel platform

On Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 1:53 PM, Peter Stuge <peter@stuge.se> wrote:

Kfir Lavi wrote:

> > I have an intel board, and the bios boots after 22sec.

> > Is it possible to boot the linux without a bios.



coreboot is your only alternative to a BIOS. I'm active in the

project since some years. Instead of coreboot you could of course

also consider buying licenses for a custom BIOS from AMI but that

is often prohibitively expensive.





> I have spoke in irc #gentoo-embedded with landley and he explained

> some stuff about my question regarding coreboot, uboot on x86.



uboot is not widely used on x86 so far. There has been some talk

between coreboot and uboot because the two could complement each

other well, but not yet.



You're of course welcome to stop by #coreboot and talk to us, and/or

check out some of the talks.



http://www.coreboot.org/Screenshots#Videos



I'd recommend "Beyond The Final Frontier" from 25C3 as a start:



http://www.coreboot.org/Screenshots#Chaos_Communication_Congress_2008_.282 5C3.29:_coreboot:_Beyond_The_Final_Frontier




coreboot completes it's task in a few hundred milliseconds. Some more

complicated boards (lots of busses and CPUs) take longer, maybe a

second or even two.



We have a list of supported mainboards:



http://www.coreboot.org/Supported_Motherboards



If your board is not listed it may be easy or it may be hard. When

talking to us about it please be sure to provide very specific

information about your hardware. "intel board" is e.g. useless, we

need details for CPU, chipset, superio and the boot flash.



As a general rule, NVIDIA and Intel are the worst possible targets

for coreboot, because they will not release documentation.



NVIDIA is simply impossible. Intel can be done, but you need a strong

business case with promise of many many units, and you need to sign

two NDAs in order to access the required, but insufficient,

documentation. The docs have some information but not all. It's

generally neccessary to reverse engineer parts of the factory BIOS in

order to actually get a board fully working.



On the opposite end of the spectrum is AMD, who have engineers

actively contributing code to coreboot. AMD recently let us know that

they will be adding AGESA support to coreboot, as well as releasing

AGESA under open source license, which means that coreboot will be

able to initialize many if not all AMD platforms with the code

written by AMD themselves, which is also being used by commercial

BIOS vendors. (AGESA is a firmware plugin system for AMD systems.)

This is of course really great news!



There was mention of BOCHS BIOS in the chat log. coreboot does not

want to be a BIOS, because BIOS is a 30 year old concept. There is

clean separation between coreboot and what we call a payload.

coreboot does hardware init, the payload starts the operating system.

I rant about ACPI a bit in the talks.



Payloads can be bootloaders or even a kernel. But for maximum

performance you will want to use SeaBIOS, an open source BIOS

implementation, as payload - because it supports ATA DMA, and boot

flash is much slower than that. (See http://stuge.se/pc2010.png - the

flash chip is *far* away from the CPU, on a slow bus.)



SeaBIOS was originally forked from BOCHS BIOS, but is very much a

project of it's own by now, is continually being updated, and is also

the default BIOS shipped with QEMU since some versions back.





Hope this helps clarify a bit.



//Peter



Hi Peter,
Thanks for your lengthy replay. Very interesting talk.
I loved the push pins idea. Now I'm asking myself,
how I didn't thought about it myself. I used a paper clip, but it is awkward.

I have a kontron board with an intel cpu. How can I get the spec with the parts
in order to check if I will be able to use coreboot?
Attached is the lspci of the board.
I would also like to know (if it is possible) how hard is to create support for this

board myself.

Regards,
Kfir

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Memory Controller Hub (rev 07)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
00:03.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset MEI Controller (rev 07)
00:19.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82567LM Gigabit Network Connection (rev 03)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 4 (rev 03)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev 93)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation ICH9M-E LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 03)
05:00.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82574L Gigabit Network Connection
 
Old 12-24-2010, 08:59 AM
Kfir Lavi
 
Default boot linux without a bios on intel platform

On Fri, Dec 24, 2010 at 10:16 AM, Peter Stuge <peter@stuge.se> wrote:

Kfir Lavi wrote:

> Thanks for your lengthy replay. Very interesting talk.



I'm glad you liked it!





> I loved the push pins idea.



Hehe, yes, it's really handy.





> Now I'm asking myself, how I didn't thought about it myself. I used

> a paper clip, but it is awkward.



Yep. I like the pushpin idea a lot but I actually continue to use a

small screwdriver myself.





> I have a kontron board with an intel cpu. How can I get the spec

> with the parts in order to check if I will be able to use coreboot?

> Attached is the lspci of the board.

> 00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Memory Controller Hub (rev 07)



lspci is a good first bit of info! This chipset is not supported at

all. The only modern-ish Intel chipset that is supported is the i945.

Compare the other Kontron with Intel in the list of supported boards.





> I would also like to know (if it is possible) how hard is to create

> support for this board myself.



For an experienced coreboot developer I would estimate an absolute

minimum of eight man-months of work. This assumes that Intel NDAs and

document retrieval requests are processed instantly. It took 9 months

just to get NDAs processed for the coreboot developer who went

through that process. On the other hand, one Intel FAE I talked to

mentioned only weeks needed in some of his projects.



You will also benefit from test equipment that will allow you to

study DRAM signals, and CPU state. These are 100k pricetag items.



Learning how to initialize CPU, northbridge and memory controller

takes significant effort, and FAEs usually can not help.



Is this Mobile 4 Series chipset (whatever that means, you could try

to look for some more low-level product codes for the chipset) part

of Intel's Embedded division? If so, you may be able to find much

inforation at edc.intel.com, but only after going through some

approval process there.



It can certainly be worthwhile to do the coreboot work also for

something completely unsupported like this, but you need a fairly

large series production.



On the other hand, maybe you can just choose a different board that

is already supported. I would try hard to do just that.





//Peter



Hi Peter,
Time is very short for my project. I think replacing the board is the best and quickest option.
Hope in this stage, I'll be able to do it. It is my advice but not my decision.


Another way is to reduce boot time of the bios by kontron.
Is it possible to achive good boot times with ami bios?

Thanks,
Kfir
 

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