Uncategorized

FreeBSD 10.3.beta2’s UEFI changes

Excerpting Phoronix:

Over the past week were some fixes/improvements around FreeBSD’s UEFI support, “The UEFI ZFS loader has been updated to support the latest ZFS Boot Environment (BE) loader menu features” and “The UEFI boot loader received several improvements: /boot/config and /boot.config files now are adhered to, multi device boot support works and command line argument parsing has been added.”

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=FreeBSD-10.3-Beta-2
https://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-stable/2016-February/084145.html
https://www.freebsd.org/relnotes/10-STABLE/relnotes/article.html

Standard
Uncategorized

fwupd and Linux Vendor Firmware Service

I haven’t been covering LVFS and fwupd much. Luckily, Michael Larabel of Phoronix.com has been doing a good job. Richard Hughes has built a Firmware Update for GNOME-based Linux systems. Excerpting from some of Richard’s posts, including his asking for help getting word out to vendors to support it:

fwupd is a simple daemon to allow session software to update device firmware on your local machine. It’s designed for desktops, but this project is also usable on phones, tablets and on headless servers. You can either use a GUI software manager like GNOME Software to view and apply updates, the command-line tool or the system D-Bus interface directly.

I’ve spent the last couple of months talking with various Red Hat partners and other OpenHardware vendors that produce firmware updates. These include most of the laptop vendors that you know and love, along with a few more companies making very specialized hardware. We’ve now got a process, fwupd, that is capable of taking the packaged update and applying it to the hardware using various forms of upload mechanism. We’ve got a specification, AppStream, which is used to describe the updates and provide metadata for what firmware updates are available to be installed. What we were missing was to “close the circle” and provide a web service for small and medium size vendors to use to upload new firmware and make it available to Linux users. Microsoft already provides such a thing for vendors to use, and it’s part of the Microsoft Update service. From the vendors I’ve talked to, the majority don’t want to run any tools on their firmware to generate metadata. Most of them don’t even want to commit to hosting the metadata or firmware files in the same place forever, and with a couple of exceptions actually like the Microsoft Update model. I’ve created a simple web service that’s being called Linux Vendor Firmware Service (perhaps not the final name). You can see the site in action here, although it’s not terribly useful or exciting if you’re not a hardware vendor. If you are vendor that produces firmware and want an access key for the beta site, please let me know. All firmware uploaded will be transferred to the final site, although I’m still waiting to hear back from Red Hat legal about a longer version of the redistribution agreement.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been emailing various tech companies trying to get hold of the right people to implement this. So far the reaction from companies has been enthusiastic and apathetic in equal measures. I’ve had a few vendors testing the process, but I can’t share those names just yet as most companies have been testing with unreleased hardware. This is where you come in. On your Linux computer right now, think about what hardware you own that works in Linux that you know has user-flashable firmware? What about your BIOS, your mouse, or your USB3 hub? Your network card, your RAID card, or your video card? Things I want you to do:

* Find the vendor on the internet, and either raise a support case or send an email. Try and find a technical contact, not just some sales or marketing person
* Tell the vendor that you would like firmware updates when using Linux, and that you’re not able to update the firmware booting to Windows or OS-X
* Tell the vendor that you’re more likely to buy from them again if firmware updates work on Linux
* Inform the vendor about the LVFS project : https://beta-lvfs.rhcloud.com/

At all times I need you to be polite and courteous, after all we’re asking the vendor to spend time (money) on doing something extra for a small fraction of their userbase. Ignoring one email from me is easy, but getting tens or hundreds of support tickets about the same issue is a great way to get an issue escalated up to the people that can actually make changes. So please, spend 15 minutes opening a support ticket or sending an email to a vendor now.

If you know of any vendors, please try to help Richard out with his above request. I hope Richard has contacts at the USB and UEFI trade groups, to directly get word out to their member-vendors.

http://www.fwupd.org/
https://beta-lvfs.rhcloud.com/
https://github.com/hughsie/fwupd
http://www.freedesktop.org/software/appstream/docs/

https://blogs.gnome.org/hughsie/2015/08/13/linux-vendor-firmware-project-we-need-your-help/
https://blogs.gnome.org/hughsie/2015/06/24/introducing-the-linux-vendor-firmware-service/
https://blogs.gnome.org/hughsie/2015/08/21/embargoed-firmware-updates-in-lvfs/
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-LVFS-Embargoed
https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-Vendor-Firmware-S
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=linux-lvfs-embargoed

Standard
Uncategorized

coreboot gets Rockchip ‘Veyron Shark’ support

As reported today by Michael Larabel at Phoronix, coreboot recently got support for the Rockchip ‘Veyron Shark’ ARM SoC , used for Chromebook/Chromebox, with code from Google and Rock Chip.

To quote Phoronix:

“Julius Werner of Google’s Chromium team added the Veyron Shark mainboard into Coreboot Git. Shark is in turn is based off a copy of the Coreboot code for Veyron Speedy. Some of the code comes from Google while the rest is from Rockchip Inc. Rockchip’s latest chip series is the RK33xx that is based on an octa-core Cortex-A53 design with a GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.1 and capable of HDMI 2.0 and 4Kx2K @ 60 FPS H.264/H.265 real-time video playback.”

Rock Chip nor coreboot didn’t didn’t consider this newsworthy, no press release. I’m grateful that Phoronix has such an efficient news gathering system, especially for tracking new features in coreboot.

More Information:

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Veyron-Shark-In-Coreboot

Standard
Uncategorized

Two Linux firmware articles

1) Linux Vendor Firmware Service launches

In a Phoronix article today, Michael Larabel describes the new Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) has been announced.

“This site provides a place for hardware vendors to submit packaged firmware updates, typically .cab files. This fire-and-forget service allows vendors to submit firmware updates without generating and hosting AppStream metadata themselves.”

More information:
https://beta-lvfs.rhcloud.com/
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-Vendor-Firmware-S
https://github.com/hughsie/fwupd

2) Intel on Linux firmware updates

Brian Richardson posted a blog yesterday, with information on Linux fwupdate, UEFI Capsule (firmware updates), UEFI 2.5 ESRT, and the Fedora firmware update mechanism.

More information:
http://blogs.intel.com/evangelists/2015/06/23/better-firmware-updates-in-linux-using-uefi-capsules/

Standard
Uncategorized

Google Auron support added to Coreboot

As reported yesterday by Michael Larabel at Phoronix, coreboot recently got support for the Intel-based Google Broadwell ‘Auron’ board. To quote Phoronix:

“Support for Auron has been added in Coreboot Git. Auron is the Google Broadwell Reference Motherboard, which in turn is based on Google’s Peppy. More Broadwell designs are emerging and soon this latest-generation Intel processor will finally be out for desktops. The Google Auron is their reference board for this latest micro-architecture.”

More Information:

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Auron-Coreboot-Broadwell

Standard
Uncategorized

Coreboot gains LLVM Clang support

According to an article on Phoronix by Michael Larabel, the coreboot project has been updated to support LLVM Clang, in addition to GCC. This is great news, having additional compilers target a project is good for finding errors, and LLVM has the klee fuzzer that might become useful with coreboot when used with a VM like QEMU.

More information:

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Clang-Coreboot-Crossgcc

Standard