Libreboot project

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The Libreboot project provides free, open source (libre) boot firmware based on coreboot, replacing proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware on specific Intel/AMD x86 and ARM based motherboards, including laptop and desktop computers. It initialises the hardware (e.g. memory controller, CPU, peripherals) and starts a bootloader for your operating system. Linux and BSD are well-supported. Help is available via #libreboot on Libera IRC. The tasks page lists what we are working on (contributions are welcome, if you want to work on some of them yourself).

You can also buy Libreboot preinstalled from Minifree Ltd, on select hardware, aswell as send your compatible hardware for Libreboot preinstallation. The founder and lead developer of Libreboot, Leah Rowe, also owns and operates Minifree; sales provide funding for Libreboot.

NEW RELEASE: The latest release is Libreboot 20240612, released on 12 June 2024. See: Libreboot 20240612 release announcement.

We believe the freedom to study, share, modify and use software, without any restriction, is one of the fundamental human rights that everyone must have. In this context, software freedom matters. Your freedom matters. Education matters. Right to repair matters; Libreboot lets you continue to use your hardware, with continued firmware updates. All of this is why Libreboot exists.

Overview of Libreboot design

Libreboot provides coreboot for machine initialisation, which then jumps to a payload in the boot flash; coreboot works with many programs, but Libreboot specifically provides SeaBIOS, GNU GRUB and U-Boot as options. Memtest86+ is also provided in flash, on some mainboards. The payload is the program in flash that provides the early user interface, for booting an operating system. This payload infrastructure means you can run whatever you want (even Linux!) from the boot flash.

Libreboot is specifically a coreboot distribution, in the same way that Debian is a Linux distribution. Libreboot makes coreboot easy to use for non-technical users, by providing a fully automated build system, automated build process and user-friendly installation instructions, in addition to regular binary releases that provide pre-compiled ROM images for installation on supported hardware. Without automation such as that provided by Libreboot, coreboot would be inaccessible for most users; you can also still reconfigure Libreboot however you wish.

Why use Libreboot?

If you’re already inclined towards free software, maybe already a coreboot user, Libreboot makes it easier to either get started or otherwise maintain coreboot on your machine, via build automation. It provides regular tested releases, pre-assembled, often with certain patches on top of coreboot (and other code) to ensure stability. By comparison, coreboot uses a rolling-release model, with a snapshot of the codebase every few months; it is very much developer-oriented, whereas Libreboot is specifically crafted for end users. In other words, the purpose of Libreboot is to Just Work. Direct configuration and installation of coreboot is also possible, but Libreboot makes it much easier.

Libreboot gives you freedoms that you otherwise can’t get with most other boot firmware, plus faster boot speeds and better security. It’s extremely powerful and configurable for many use cases. If you’re unhappy with the restrictions (not to mention, security issues) imposed on you by proprietary BIOS vendors, then Libreboot is one possible choice for you. Since it inherits coreboot, it doesn’t have any known backdoors in the code, nor does it contain legacy cruft from the 1980s. Libreboot provides a sleek, fast boot experience for Linux/BSD systems, based on coreboot which is regularly audited and improved.

Libreboot is more reliable than proprietary firmware. Many people use proprietary (non-libre) boot firmware, even if they use a libre OS. Proprietary firmware often contains backdoors, and can be buggy. The Libreboot project was founded in December 2013, with the express purpose of making coreboot firmware accessible for non-technical users.

Libreboot is a community-oriented project, with a focus on helping users escape proprietary boot firmware; we ourselves want to live in a world where all software is free, and so, Libreboot is an effort to help get closer to that world. Unlike the big vendors, we don’t try to stifle you in any way, nor do we see you as a security threat; we regard the ability to use, study, modify and redistribute software freely to be a human right that everyone must have. Extended to computers, these are products that you purchased, and so you should have the freedom to change them in any way you like. When you see Intel talk about their Boot Guard (which prevents coreboot by only letting firmware signed by them be executed) or other vendors imposing similar restrictions, and you hear them talk about “security”, they are only talking about their security, not yours. In the Libreboot project, it is reversed; we see Intel Boot Guard and similar such technologies as an attack on your freedom over your own property (your computer), and so, we make it our mission to help you wrest back such control.

Libreboot is not a fork of coreboot

In fact, Libreboot tries to stay as close to stock coreboot as possible, for each board, but with many different types of configuration provided automatically by the Libreboot build system.

In the same way that Alpine Linux is a Linux distribution, Libreboot is a coreboot distribution. If you want to build a ROM image from scratch, you otherwise have to perform expert-level configuration of coreboot, GRUB and whatever other software you need, to prepare the ROM image. With Libreboot, you can literally download from Git or a source archive, and run a simple script, and it will build entire ROM images. An automated build system, named lbmk (Libreboot MaKe), builds these ROM images automatically, without any user input or intervention required. Configuration has already been performed in advance.

If you were to build regular coreboot, without using Libreboot’s automated build system, it would require a lot more intervention and decent technical knowledge to produce a working configuration.

Regular binary releases of Libreboot provide these ROM images pre-compiled, and you can simply install them, with no special knowledge or skill except the ability to follow simplified instructions, written for non-technical users.

How to help

The tasks page lists tasks that could (will) be worked on. It will be updated over time as more tasks are added/completede. If you want to help, you could pick one of these tasks and work on it.

The single biggest way you can help is to add new mainboards in Libreboot, by submitting a config. Anything coreboot supports can be integrated in Libreboot, with ROM images provided in releases. See:

After that, there is build system maintenance (see above), and documentation which we take seriously. Documentation is critical, in any project.

User support is also critical. Stick around on IRC, and if you’re competent to help someone with their issue (or wily enough to learn with them), that is a great service to the project. A lot of people also ask for user support on the r/libreboot subreddit.

You can check bugs listed on the bug tracker.

If you spot a bug and have a fix, here are instructions for how to send patches, and you can also report it. Also, this entire website is written in Markdown and hosted in a separate repository where you can send patches.

Any and all development discussion and user support are all done on the IRC channel. More information is on the contact page.

Translations needed, for

Libreboot currently has translated Web pages in Ukrainian and French (but not for all pages, yet, on either language).

If you want to help with translations, you can translate pages, update existing translations and submit your translated versions. For instructions, please read:

How to submit translations for

Even if someone is already working on translations in a given language, we can always use multiple people. The more the merrier!

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