Article published by: Leah Rowe
Date of publication: 10 July 2022
Libreboot is free (as in freedom) boot firmware, which initializes the hardware (e.g. memory controller, CPU, peripherals) in your computer so that software can run. Libreboot then starts a bootloader to load your operating system. It replaces the proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware typically found on a computer. Libreboot is compatible with specifical computer models that use the Intel/AMD x86 architecture. Libreboot works well with Linux and BSD operating systems.
The last Libreboot release, version 20211122, was released on November 22nd in 2021. This new release, Libreboot 20220710, is released today on July 10th, 2022. This is intended to be a stable release, with some caveats.
This is a bug fix release, relative to 20211122. No new boards or major features have been added, but several problems that existed in the previous release have now been fixed.
This release was build-tested on Debian 11. Your mileage may vary, with other distros.
Lots and lots of improvements to the documentation. Previous 2021 testing releases did not include snapshots of the documentation (which is actually the Markdown source files for the website), but this release does include now a snapshot of the current Libreboot documentation, as per the time of release.
grub.cfg: Many performance improvements, improving the boot speeds when using the GRUB payload (courtesy Ferass ‘Vitali64’ EL HAFIDI with additional improvements made by Leah Rowe)
GM45/ICH9M laptops: Disable PECI in coreboot, to work around a microcode bug causing SpeedStep (and possibly other CPU features) to fail.
Do not treat warnings as errors when building flashrom (fixes building on newer versions of GCC).
Macbook2,1: 16MB configurations now available (you must first upgrade the SPI flash)
Build system improvement: automated scripts for modifying coreboot configs.
Disable (by default) serial output on all boards, to prevent boot speed issues.
grub.cfg: Actually enable USB keyboards, explicitly (works around bug seen on some laptops, when using the GRUB payload).
Coreboot configs: Do not enable wifi during early init (security liability)
Preliminary u-boot integration; not used in any boards yet, but future full integration is planned, for several ARM platforms. U-boot is not included in the release archives, but logic does exist in the build system. Courtesy of Denis ‘GNUtoo’ Carikli.
Scripts in lbmk: improved help output, courtesy of Denis ‘GNUtoo’ Carikli.
scripts: process git versions when lbmk is a worktree or submodule. Courtesy John Doe (cool guy)
Updated to newer flashrom, in the build system
Perform silentoldconfig in seabios before full make. This fixes a race condition when rebuilding SeaBIOS with a high CPU count, resulting in failure with the error message (fix courtesy of John Doe):
cc1: fatal error: can’t open ‘out/src/asm-offsets.s’ for writing: No such file or directory
lbmk: Specifically call python3, when python3 is to be used instead of 2.
lbmk: Preliminary fix for git credentials check. Set a placeholder name/email if one is not set.
Due to reported issues by users, these boards do not have ROM images available in the Libreboot 20220710 release:
The boards listed above can still be compiled, from the source code archive in this release and from the Libreboot git repository; additionally, ROM images are provided for these in the previous release. D8/D16 continue to have raminit issues; for now, use the 2021 releases. The next Libreboot release will merge newer patches that are available for this board, improving raminit reliability (among other things); that new release will, when available, have D16 ROMs included.
All other boards are reasonably stable, and shouldn’t provide any issues (no major issues reported, and/or non-blocking issues only).
In general, you should also check the issue tracker to find other notes. There is always more work to do, to improve Libreboot.
This is still on hold, but will be done as part of a future release. The coreboot firmware does support other platforms.
This is another project that has been on hold for a while. The issue has been that I need a decent userland project. I’ve looked at many different userlands and recently (as of late June) decided to make my own. I want a BusyBox-like solution, but based on code from OpenBSD, ported to run under Linux with musl libc.
I want this distro to provide a kexec bootloader in flash, similar to Heads, and I also want it to use apk-tools, pointing at Alpine Linux repositories so as to allow any number of packages to be downloaded. It could also provide lots of utils in general, to be a live rescue system of sorts. Linux system in flash, that can bootstrap other systems.
GRUB is full of unused bloat that almost nobody uses, yet is in the current Libreboot builds. It’s been on TODO for some time, but work has not yet begun on this project. My efforts are currently focused on the Linux distro.
What I want is a fork of GRUB, optimized to run on bare metal as a coreboot payload, on x86 and ARM platforms.
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