Coreboot (own spelling: coreboot, formerly LinuxBIOS ) is a project which aims to develop a source - open and free BIOS. LinuxBIOS was started by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1999 and renamed in early 2008 " coreboot ". The project is licensed under the GNU General Public License.

The project is endorsed by the Free Software Foundation ( FSF) and regarded as one of the priority projects. The project also receives support from the business, such as AMD, Google, MSI, Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS ), Tyan, Linux Networx and the core systems GmbH.

Innovations in Coreboot

Through the use of Coreboot the boot process can be greatly accelerated. On some systems, the boot time is less than one second. Furthermore allowed Coreboot remote access and is designed for cluster systems.

Function for the boot process

Coreboot itself is only a minimal code to start the motherboard with all its devices. Immediately thereafter, a transfer to a so-called payload carried (English for payload ), which then continues to ramp up the system. Coreboot itself does not contain kernel. A majority of the core boot code used to make the RAM usable to initialize the PCI bus and the serial interface and the latter as an output device for debugging.

After Systeminitalisierung by Coreboot the payload starts, which takes over the further up the system. The best known are FILO ( a minimalist boot loader ), Etherboot, an IEEE -1275 compliant Open Firmware implementation (which includes OpenBIOS, SmartFirmware and Open Firmware itself), Memtest86, GRUB2, SeaBIOS, Plan 9 and a Linux kernel. In principle, as the payload of various other boot loader, operating systems and standalone software applications.

The Linux kernel since version 2.6 as large (> 1 MiB), that he ( 512 KiB or 4 Mbit ) finds no place in most common flash ROMs. Since Coreboot does not contain device drivers, the hard drive can not be read directly and a payload with device drivers (eg FILO or GRUB2 ) is responsible for loading from the hard drive. Because newer motherboards often use soldered flash ROMs, an exchange is by larger chips not always practical. The largest available Flash ROM move in the order 4-8 MiB, which is sufficient even for a complete Linux distribution with a graphical user interface.

Supported Hardware

The hardware support is divided in support of motherboards and chipsets.

Currently, a total of about 230 motherboards are supported by different manufacturers ( with many different chipsets ).

All Chromebooks except the first three models run with Coreboot.

Use of Coreboot

Is Coreboot in different cluster systems, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and also in various embedded systems used (eg in set-top boxes). Another field of application is the server area. Thus, for example, sets the Free Software Foundation, multiple servers with Coreboot (and even a free operating systems). Also, support for standard desktop computer is given: The Gigabyte GA- M57SLI -S4, a mainstream AM2 Mainboard for example is supported.

Importance to the Free Software Movement

The GNU Project was founded in 1983 initially to develop a free operating system to the target. Together with the 1992 establishment placed under the GPL Linux is the first operating system was created which was available under an Open Source license - apart from the active front of the operating system start- proprietary firmware. The problem of this missing part piece of free software has been addressed only in the year 1999. By Coreboot in conjunction with a free ROM image (for example, a Linux kernel, OpenBIOS, Open Firmware, nd a ), a free bridge between hardware and software has been beaten.

Conventional BIOS versions are often subject to certain software errors; these are often not too clean, if not an update will be provided by the manufacturer. In addition to these accidental limitations, there are approaches to implement in the future other functions in the proprietary firmware (BIOS or UEFI ), lead us to fear the conscious restrictions on the functionality. For example, digital rights management, whose functionality is not disclosed deliberately in parts.