Article published by: Leah Rowe
Date of publication: 23 April 2023
PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE INSTALLING: Safety issues updating Libreboot on Sandybridge/Ivybridge/Haswell
Libreboot provides boot firmware for supported x86/ARM machines, starting a bootloader that then loads your operating system. It replaces proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware on x86 machines, and provides an improved configuration on ARM-based chromebooks supported (U-Boot bootloader, instead of Google’s depthcharge bootloader). On x86 machines, the GRUB and SeaBIOS coreboot payloads are officially supported, provided in varying configurations per machine. It provides an automated build system for the configuration and installation of coreboot ROM images, making coreboot easier to use for non-technical people. You can find the list of supported hardware in the Libreboot documentation.
The last Libreboot release, version 20230413, was released on 13 April in 2023. This new release, Libreboot 20230423, is released today on April 23rd, 2023.
This is marked as a testing release, though it is basically stable. We’ve been going at it like crazy, on a big spree adding more mainboards from coreboot. Some fixes to the build system were also made, since the last release only 10 days ago.
The priority for Libreboot is to add as many new boards as possible, from now to the next stable release (ETA Q3 2023), with many testing releases in between. Release early, release often. Rigorious testing ensues.
On newer Intel platforms that require Intel ME and/or MRC firmware, such as ThinkPad X230 or T440p, and/or HP laptops that require KBC1126 EC firmware, the release ROMs of Libreboot are MISSING certain files, that you must insert yourself. FAILURE to adhere to this warning may result in you bricking your machine (rendering it unbootable), if you were to flash the release ROMs without modifying them in any way. For more information, please read:
This isn’t required on all Libreboot-supported boards, but if in doubt, follow these instructions anyway. If you run
blobutil on a board that doesn’t need blobs, nothing will happen.
This release was build-tested on Debian Sid, as of 23 April 2023. Your mileage may vary, with other distros. Refer to Libreboot documentation.
These boards still haven’t made it back to Libreboot, but I wish to re-add them in a future release. If you can give/loan me a fully assembled workstation with one (or both) of these, I would appreciate it. Please get in touch!
This is in the last 10 days, since the previous release was 10 days ago! Ergo, this is a very conservative changelog. It seems Libreboot has been releasing almost fortnightly, as of late; perhaps this could continue from now on.
nic3-14159on Libreboot IRC.
Riku_Von Libreboot IRC) - Sandybridge hardware generation, really nice machine, cheap, easy to flash, supports 32GB RAM, multiple HDDs etc.
cbfstool) - fixes broken reboot/speedstep CPU scaling in such configuration. - Patch: https://browse.libreboot.org/lbmk.git/commit/?id=bd4ea9a02845b22a09b73ebb015ce134234d100b (patch by Leah Rowe) - this also affects Dell Latitude E6400, and it can be used there on that board. We recommend keeping microcode updates, but these mitigations were re-added to satisfy users of older releases that excluded them, who want to still have the option to feasibly run without them. This is ill advised, due to bugs that the microcode updates fix
blobutil/inject: Fixed bad variable expansion pattern. Patch courtesy Leah Rowe.
build/release/roms: HP KBC1126 EC firmware scrubbed from release ROMs, for re-insertion later via
./update blobs downloadand
./update blobs injectlike with ME images via
me_cleaner- for HP laptops. Patch courtesy Leah Rowe.
build/dependencies/parabola: New script for installing build dependencies in Parabola GNU+Linux, courtesy of Riku Viitanen (
Riku_Von Libreboot IRC)
util/nvmutil: sorted includes alphabetically;
sys/first (puffy!) - courtesy Leah Rowe.
util/e6400-flash-unlock: New utility for Dell Latitude E6400 added, written by Nicholas Chin (
nic3-14159on Libreboot IRC). It sends EC commands to pull a GPIO connected to
HDA_DOCK_ENin the chipset to a low logic state, disabling IFD-based flash protections. Additionally, it bypasses the SMM BIOS lock protection by disabling SMIs, and since Dell’s own BIOS offers no other protections, the machine can be flashed entirely with software on the host CPU, from Dell BIOS to Libreboot! See: https://browse.libreboot.org/lbmk.git/tree/util/e6400-flash-unlock
grub.cfgmenu timeout now 30s, not 5s (courtesy Leah Rowe)
blobutil/download: support downloading KBC1126-based EC firmware for HP laptops. (patch by Leah Rowe)
blobutil/download: Support extracting
me.binfrom full archives, when running
./update blobs download- this is done, using the
me_cleaner(some vendors put whole ROM images with IFD, GBE, ME and BIOS regions in them, inside their BIOS update archives - we only need to get ME from them, to run through
me_cleaner. Ninja’d into lbmk by Leah Rowe.
All of the following are believed to boot, but if you have any issues, please contact the Libreboot project. They are:
I’ve purchased about ~10 HP mainboards, all of the viable sandybridge, ivybridge and haswell ones from coreboot. I’m going to add them all.
I also have Dell Optiplex 7020 and 9020; these are on coreboot gerrit and will also be added, in the next Libreboot release (Haswell gen).
I’m going to re-work a lot of the merged Haswell boards, so that they can also make use of Angel’s experimental libre MRC raminit and such, currently available on ThinkPad T440p and W541 as an option in Libreboot (including in this release!)
You can find this release on the downloads page. At the time of this announcement, some of the rsync mirrors may not have it yet, so please check another one if your favourite one doesn’t have it.
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