Libreboot is compatible with GNU+Linux and several BSD systems.
For GNU+Linux, have a look at our list of GNU+Linux distributions that we recommend.
For BSD, refer to the libreboot FAQ. We wish to merge instructions into the official libreboot documentation, if someone will provide it. We do have some instructions now for NetBSD, FreeBSD and OpenBSD, but they are still incomplete. See bsd/.
Libreboot is a free BIOS or UEFI replacement (free as in freedom); libre boot firmware that initializes the hardware and starts a bootloader for your operating system. It's also an open source BIOS, but open source fails to promote freedom; please call libreboot free software.
Libreboot originally began during December 2013, as a commercial effort by the Ministry of Freedom to achieve RYF endorsement for a modified ThinkPad X60 (the first system to ever be added to libreboot), which it did then achieve.
Back then, the name libreboot didn't exist; the project was nameless, referring to itself as a deblobbed version of coreboot. The project named itself libreboot at some point during early 2014, and has since rapidly expanded to support more hardware and become more user-friendly.
Libreboot is a coreboot distribution (distro) with proprietary software removed, intended to be a free (libre) 'BIOS' replacement for your computer. The project is aimed at users, attempting to make coreboot as easy to use as possible.
Libreboot has many practical advantages over proprietary boot firmware, such as faster boot speeds and better security. You can install GNU+Linux with encrypted /boot/, verify GPG signatures on your kernel, put a kernel in the flash chip and more.
Libreboot is not a fork of coreboot. Every so often, the project re-bases on the latest version of coreboot, with the number of custom patches in use minimized.
All new coreboot development should be done in coreboot (upstream), not libreboot! Libreboot is about deblobbing and packaging coreboot in a user-friendly way, where most work is already done for the user.
For example, if you wanted to add a new board to libreboot, you should add it to coreboot first. Libreboot will automatically receive your code at a later date, when it updates itself.
The deblobbed coreboot tree used in libreboot is referred to as coreboot-libre, to distinguish it as a component of libreboot.
If you are at least 127 commits after release 20150518
(commit message build/roms/helper: add version information to CBFS)
(or you have any upstream stable release of libreboot after 20150518), then you can
press C at the GRUB console, and use this command to find out what version of libreboot you have:
This will also work on non-release images (the version string is automatically generated, using git describe --tags HEAD), built from the git repository. A file named version will also be included in the archives that you downloaded (if you are using release archives).
If it exists, you can also extract this lbversion file by using the cbfstool utility
which libreboot includes, from a ROM image that you either dumped or haven't flashed yet.
In your distribution, run cbfstool on your ROM image (libreboot.rom, in this example):
$ ./cbfstool libreboot.rom extract -n lbversion -f lbversion
You will now have a file, named lbversion, which you can read in whatever program it is that you use for reading/writing text files.
For git, it's easy. Just check the git log.
For releases on or below 20150518, or snapshots generated from the git repository below 127 commits
after 20150518, you can find a file named commitid inside the archives. If you are using
pre-built ROM images from the libreboot project, you can press C in GRUB for access to the terminal,
and then run this command:
You may find a date in here, detailing when that ROM image was built. For pre-built images distributed by the libreboot project, this is a rough approximation of what version you have, because the version numbers are dated, and the release archives are typically built on the same day as the release; you can correlate that with the release information in release.html.
For 20160818, note that the lbversion file was missing from CBFS on GRUB images. You can still find out what libreboot version you have by comparing checksums of image dumps (with the descriptor blanked out with 00s, and the same done to the ROMs from the release archive, if you are on a GM45 laptop).
There may also be a ChangeLog file included in your release archive, so that you can look in there to figure out what version you have.
You can also check the documentation that came with your archives, and in docs/release.html will be the information about the version of libreboot that you are using.
Generally speaking, it is advisable to use the latest version of libreboot.
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