Instructions for compiling from the source code

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Depthcharge is currently not documented, since it is in the new build system. Instructions for how to build boards that have depthcharge are included in the BUILD_HOWTO file in libreboot.git or _src.

This section relates to building libreboot from source, and working with the git repository.

Install build dependencies

Before doing anything, you need the dependencies first. This is true if you want to build libreboot from source, with either libreboot_src.tar.xz or git. If you are using libreboot_util.tar.xz (binary archive) then you can ignore this, because ROM images and statically compiled executables for the utilities are included.

For Debian Stretch (may also work on Debian Jessie), you can run the following command: $ sudo ./oldbuild dependencies debian (this will also work in Devuan)

For Parabola, you can run the following command: $ sudo ./oldbuild dependencies parabola
or: # ./oldbuild dependencies parabola

For other GNU+Linux distributions, you can adapt the existing scripts.

Get the full source code from metadata (git clone)

If you downloaded libreboot from git, then there are some steps to download and patch the source code for all relevant dependencies. The archive in the git repository used to be available as a tarball called ‘libreboot_meta.tar.gz’. It contains ‘metadata’ (scripts) which define how the source was created (where it came from).

You can use the scripts included to download everything.

First, install the build dependencies.

Since libreboot makes extensive use of git, you need to configure git properly. If you have not yet configured git, then the minimum requirement is:

$ git config --global "Your Name"
$ git config --global

This is what will also appear in git logs if you ever commit your own changes to a given repository. For more information, see

Another nice config for you (optional, but recommended):

$ git config --global core.editor nano
$ git config --global color.status auto
$ git config --global color.branch auto
$ git config --global color.interactive auto
$ git config --global color.diff auto

After that, run the script:

$ ./download all

What this did was download everything (grub, coreboot, memtest86+, bucts, flashrom) at the versions last tested for this release, and patch them. Read the script in a text editor to learn more.

To build the ROM images, see #build.

How to build “bucts” (for LenovoBIOS X60/X60S/X60T/T60)

This is for Lenovo BIOS users on the ThinkPad X60/X60S, X60 Tablet and T60. If you have coreboot or libreboot running already, ignore this.

BUC.TS isn’t really specific to these laptops, but is a bit inside the a register in the chipset on some Intel systems.

Bucts is needed when flashing in software the X60/X60S/X60T/T60 ROM while Lenovo BIOS is running; external flashing will be safe regardless. Each ROM contains identical data inside the two final 64K region in the file*. This corresponds to the final two 64K regions in the flash chip. Lenovo BIOS will prevent you from writing the final one, so running “bucts 1” will set the system to boot from the other block instead (which is writeable along with everything beneath it when using a patched flashrom. see #build_flashrom). After shutting down and booting up after the first flash of libreboot, the final 64K block is writeable so you flash the ROM again with an unpatched flashrom and run “bucts 0” to make the system boot from the normal (highest) block again.

*Libreboot ROM images have identical data in those two 64KiB regions because dd is used to do that, by the build system. If you’re building from upstream (coreboot), you have to do it manually.

BUC.TS is backed up (powered) by the NVRAM battery (or CMOS battery, as some people call it). On thinkpads, this is typically in a yellow plastic package with the battery inside, connected via power lines to the mainboard. Removing that battery removes power to BUC.TS, resetting the bit back to 0 (if you previously set it to 1).

BUC.TS utility is included in libreboot_src.tar.xz and libreboot_util.tar.xz.
If you downloaded from git, follow #build_meta before you proceed.

“BUC” means “Backup Control” (it’s a register) and “TS” means “Top Swap” (it’s a status bit). Hence “bucts” (BUC.TS). TS 1 and TS 0 corresponds to bucts 1 and bucts 0.

If you have the binary release archive, you’ll find executables under ./bucts/. Otherwise if you need to build from source, continue reading.

First, install the build dependencies.

To build bucts, do this in the main directory:

$ ./oldbuild module bucts

To statically compile it, do this:

$ ./oldbuild module bucts static

The “builddeps” script in libreboot_src also makes use of builddeps-bucts.

How to build “flashrom”

Flashrom is the utility for flashing/dumping ROM images. This is what you will use to install libreboot.

Flashrom source code is included in libreboot_src.tar.xz and libreboot_util.tar.xz.
If you downloaded from git, follow #build_meta before you proceed.

If you are using the binary release archive, then there are already binaries included under ./flashrom/. The flashing scripts will try to choose the correct one for you. Otherwise if you wish to re-build flashrom from source, continue reading.

First, install the build dependencies.

To build it, do the following in the main directory:

$ ./oldbuild module flashrom

To statically compile it, do the following in the main directory:

$ ./oldbuild module flashrom static

After you’ve done that, under ./flashrom/ you will find the following executables:

The “builddeps” script in libreboot_src also makes use of builddeps-flashrom.

How to build the ROM images

You don’t need to do much, as there are scripts already written for you that can build everything automatically.

You can build libreboot from source on a 32-bit (i686) or 64-bit (x86_64) system. Recommended (if possible): x86_64. ASUS KFSN4-DRE has 64-bit CPUs. On a ThinkPad T60, you can replace the CPU (Core 2 Duo T5600, T7200 or T7600. T5600 recommended) for 64-bit support. On an X60s, you can replace the board with one that has a Core 2 Duo L7400 (you could also use an X60 Tablet board with the same CPU). On an X60, you can replace the board with one that has a Core 2 Duo T5600 or T7200 (T5600 is recommended). All MacBook2,1 laptops are 64-bit, as are all ThinkPad X200, X200S, X200 Tablet, R400, T400 and T500 laptops. Warning: MacBook1,1 laptops are all 32-bit only.

First, install the build dependencies.

If you downloaded libreboot from git, refer to #build_meta.

Build all of the components used in libreboot:

$ ./oldbuild module all

You can also build each modules separately, using ./oldbuild module modulename. To see the possible values for modulename, use:

$ ./oldbuild module list

After that, build the ROM images (for all boards):

$ ./oldbuild roms withgrub

Alternatively, you can build for a specific board or set of boards. For example:

$ ./oldbuild roms withgrub x60
$ ./oldbuild roms withgrub x200\_8mb
$ ./oldbuild roms withgrub x60 x200\_8mb

The list of board options can be found by looking at the directory names in resources/libreboot/config/grub/.

To clean (reverse) everything, do the following:

$ ./oldbuild clean all

The ROM images will be stored under bin/payload/, where payload could be grub, seabios, or whatever other payload those images were built for.

Preparing release archives (optional)

This is only confirmed to work (tested) in Debian Stretch. Parabola *fails* at this stage (for now). For all other distros, YMMV. This will also work in Devuan.

This is mainly intended for use with the git repository. These commands will work in the release archive (_src), unless otherwise noted below.

The archives will appear under release/oldbuildsystem/${version}/; ${version} will either be set using git describe or, if a version file already exists (_src release archive), then it will simply re-use that.

Tag the current commit, and that version will appear in both the ${version} string on the directory under release/oldbuildsystem/, and in the file names of the archives. Otherwise, whatever git uses for git describe –tags HEAD will be used.

Utilities (static executables):

$ ./oldbuild release util

Archive containing flashrom and bucts source code:

$ ./oldbuild release tobuild

Documentation archive (does not work on _src release archive, only git):

$ ./oldbuild release docs

ROM image archives:

$ ./oldbuild release roms

Source code archive:

$ ./oldbuild release src

SHA512 sums of all other release archives that have been generated:

$ ./oldbuild release sha512sums

If you are building on an i686 host, this will build statically linked 32-bit binaries in the binary release archive that you created, for: nvramtool, cbfstool, ich9deblob, cbmem.

If you are building on an x86_64 host, this will build statically linked 32- *and* 64-bit binaries for cbmem, ich9deblob, cbfstool and nvramtool.

To include statically linked i686 and x86_64 binaries for bucts and flashrom, you will need to build them on a chroot, a virtual system or a real system where the host uses each given architecture. These packages are difficult to cross-compile, and the libreboot project is still figuring out how to deal with them.

The same applies if you want to include statically linked flashrom binaries for ARM.

armv7l binaries (tested on a BeagleBone Black) are also included in libreboot_util, for:

If you are building binaries on a live system or chroot (for flashrom/bucts), you can use the following to statically link them:

$ ./oldbuild module flashrom static
$ ./oldbuild module bucts static

The same conditions as above apply for ARM (except, building bucts on ARM is pointless, and for flashrom you only need the normal executable since the lenovobios_sst and _macronix executables are meant to run on an X60/T60 while lenovo bios is present, working around the security restrictions).

The command that you used for generating the release archives will also run the following command:

$ ./oldbuild release tobuild

The archive tobuild.tar.xz will have been created under release/oldbuildsystem/, containing bucts, flashrom and all other required resources for building them.

You’ll find that the files libreboot_util.tar.xz and libreboot_src.tar.xz have been created, under release/oldbuildsystem/.

The ROM images will be stored in separate archives for each system, under release/oldbuildsystem/rom/.

Copyright © 2014, 2015, 2016 Leah Rowe
This page is available under the CC BY SA 4.0

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