Article published by: Leah Rowe
Date of publication: 6 November 2023
IMPORTANT ADVICE: PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE INSTALLING/UPDATING LIBREBOOT.
This new release, Libreboot 20231106, released today 6 November 2023, is a new testing release of Libreboot. The previous release was Libreboot 20231101, released on 1 November 2023. Today’s release has focused on minor bug fixes, plus tweaks to the GRUB payload.
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 Libreboot documentation.
Libreboot’s main benefit is higher boot speed, better security and more customisation options compared to most proprietary firmware. As a libre software project, the code can be audited, and coreboot does regularly audit code. The other main benefit is freedom to study, adapt and share the code, a freedom denied by most boot firmware, but not Libreboot! Booting Linux/BSD is also well supported.
This is largely a bugfix release. Most notably, boot issues on GM45 thinkpads present in the 20231101 release have been resolved.
Libreboot contains a DDR2 raminit patch for Dell Latitude E6400, that increases reliability on coldboot, but it negatively affects other GM45 machines that use DDR3 RAM instead.
This board is no longer provided by
coreboot/default. Instead, it is provided by
coreboot/dell, and the offending patch has been moved there, along with other required patches.
This means that the Dell Latitude E6400 still works, and quite reliably, but the patch for it will not impact other boards. Some users reported that Libreboot 20231101 randomly crashed or rebooted with certain memory modules, when using on GM45 ThinkPads (ROM images for those machines were then deleted from the 20231021 and 20231101 release archives). Today’s Libreboot release solves that problem, so these machines can be used reliably once again.
Libreboot 20231106 and 20231101 are both based on these revisions:
d862695f5f432b5c78dada5f16c293a4c3f9fce6, 12 October 2023
d862695f5f432b5c78dada5f16c293a4c3f9fce6, 12 October 2023 (the
delltree does not exist in Libreboot 20231101, only 20231106)
1c13f8d85c7306213cd525308ee8973e5663a3f8, 16 June 2021
e58b870ff926415e23fc386af41ff81b2f588763, 3 October 2023
1e1da7a963007d03a4e0e9a9e0ff17990bb1608d, 24 August 2023
4459ed60cb1e0562bc5b40405e2b4b9bbf766d57, 2 October 2023
Several other fixes and tweaks have been made, in addition to this and the E6400 patch mentioned above.
These changes were made:
src/docs/, in releases, including this one.
make install, so now nvmutil can be installed to the host. Patch courtesy of Riku Viitanen.
make oldconfigis used on each configuration file, which is usually OK, but every now and then we re-do them again. (the alternative is to use defconfigs, not full configs, but that has other drawbacks)
me_cleanerto neuter the Intel ME.
The log is as follows, relative to Libreboot 20231101:
* d5a3abdb put docs under docs/ in releases (not src/docs/) * 139815f9 Merge pull request 'nvmutil: make install' (#149) from Riku_V/lbmk:nvmins into master |\ | * 9184940f nvmutil: make install * | 9be589ef include untitledssg docs in releases * | 188b4f0d put images in the proper place, in releases * | 1c6add41 roll back untitled revision * | b295fd40 config/git: merge img files with docs * | 4bdaf39c use mirrorservice.org for gcc downloads |/ * 5a315470 Merge pull request 'Enable VBT for E6430' (#147) from nic3-14159/lbmk:enable-e6430-vbt into master |\ | * c5fd0069 Enable VBT for E6430 * | 80b70d89 grub: avoid printing empty error messages * | 6e60bfe0 Recreate i945 coreboot configs from scratch * | 42392f6f dell/e6400: set vram to max (256mb) * | ada4de5f further silence grub prefix errors * | dd03a87b grub: don't print messages if a module isn't found * | ab57e7a4 grub: don't print prefix errors on the screen * | 72e7d090 coreboot: re-configure gm45 thinkpads from scratch * | 742c0033 coreboot/dell: move e6400 to new tree, dell * | f870a2fe Dell E6430: use ME Soft Temporary Disable |/ * dd1e15fd merge untitled with docs, in releases * 922bccf9 include untitled ssg in releases
Yet another extremely conservative changelog. Libreboot’s ten-year anniversary is on 12 December 2023, which is not long away. Regular testing of Libreboot is in progress, and rapid development towards a new stable release; it is very much planned that 12 December 2023 will have a new stable release of Libreboot.
All of the following are believed to boot, but if you have any issues, please contact the Libreboot project. They are:
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.
GM45 ThinkPads still have buggy S3 behaviour, ditto i945. x4x and Pineview untested, other Intel platforms work; AMD untested but should work.
If you’re using a GM45 ThinkPad (e.g. X200, T400), don’t try putting your laptop to sleep. S3 suspend/resume is broken. The intention is that this will be fixed before the next stable release.
This patch, linked, enables the VBT setup on Dell Latitude E6430, but this patch was not merged before the Libreboot 20231106 release. VBT wasn’t actually enabled, on the release, so images for E6430 have been removed from the release archives; E6430 ROM images will instead be provided in the next release. For now, you can build Libreboot from
lbmk.git. See: Building Libreboot from source
A corresponding Canoeboot 20231107 release is available.
Many modules were removed from GRUB, to save space in flash, but the ones that are actually needed were carefully retained.
However, FAT/NTFS support in GRUB was removed in recent Libreboot releases, including Libreboot 20231106.
Apparently, some distros use FAT-based file systems for
/boot, and this meant that a user with such a distro could not boot their kernel on the latest release.
This has been fixed, in the following patch: https://browse.libreboot.org/lbmk.git/commit/?id=39aad57873b9e6265d089ef7dbb4dc5add5c659f
This was merged after the Libreboot 20231106 release, and so it will be present in the next Libreboot release after 20231106.
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