Libreboot 20160818 release

Leah Rowe

18 August 2016

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Article published by: Leah Rowe

Date of publication: 18 August 2016

This is in comparison to the Libreboot 20150518 release.

Installation instructions can be found at docs/install/. Building instructions (for source code) can be found at docs/git/\#build.

Machines supported in this release:

Changes for this release of Libreboot, relative to Libreboot version 20150518 (earliest changes are shown last and the most recent changes are shown first first)

For details development history on these boards, refer to the git log and documentation.

For boards previously supported, many fixes from upstream have been merged.

Other changes (compared to libreboot 20150518), for libreboot in general or for previously supported systems: (this is a summary. For more detailed change list, refer to the git log)

256MiB VRAM allocated on GM45 (X200, T400, T500, R400) instead of 32MiB. This is an improvement over both Lenovo BIOS and Libreboot 20150518, allowing video decoding at 1080p to be smoother. (thanks Arthur Heymans) To clarify, GM45 video performance in libreboot 20160818 is better than on the original BIOS and the previous libreboot release.

64MiB VRAM on i945 (X60, T60, MacBook2,1) now supported in coreboot-libre, and used by default (in the previous release, it was 8MiB allocated). Thanks to Arthur Heymans.

Higher battery life on GM45 (X200, T400, T500, R400) due to higher cstates now being supported (thanks Arthur Heymans). C4 power states also supported.

Higher battery life on i945 (X60, T60, MacBook2,1) due to better CPU C-state settings. (Deep C4, Dynamic L2 shrinking, C2E).

Text mode on GM45 (X200, T400, T500, R400) now works, making it possible to use MemTest86+ comfortably. (thanks to Nick High from coreboot)

Dual channel LVDS displays on GM45 (T400, T500) are now automatically detected in coreboot-libre. (thanks Vladimir Serbinenko from coreboot)

Partial fix in coreboot-libre for GRUB display on GM45, for dual channel LVDS higher resolution LCD panels (T400, T500). (thanks Arthur Heymans)

Massively improved GRUB configuration, making it easier to boot more encrypted systems automatically, and generally a more useful menu for booting the system (thanks go to Klemens Nanni of the autoboot project). Libreboot now uses the grub.cfg provided by the installed GNU+Linux distribution automatically, if present, switching to that configuration. This is done across many partitions, where libreboot actively searches for a configuration file (also on LVM volumes and encrypted volumes). This should make libreboot more easy to use for non-technical users, without having to modify the GRUB configuration used in libreboot.

Utilities archives is now source only. You will need to compile the packages in there (build scripts included, and a script for installing build dependencies). (binary utility archives are planned again in the next release, when the new build system is merged)

SeaGRUB is now the default payload on all x86 boards. (SeaBIOS configured to load a compressed GRUB payload from CBFS immediately, without providing an interface in SeaBIOS. This way, GRUB is still used but now BIOS services are available, so you get the best of both worlds). Thanks go to Timothy Pearson of coreboot for this idea.

crossgcc is now downloaded and built as a separate module to coreboot-libre, with a universal revision used to build all boards.

Individual boards now have their own coreboot revision and patches, independently of each other board. This makes maintenance easier.

Updated all utilities, and modules (coreboot, GRUB, etc) to newer versions, with various bugfixes and improvements upstream.

RTC century byte issue now fixed on GM45 in coreboot-libre, so the date should now be correctly displayed when running the latest linux kernel, instead of seeing 1970-01-01 when you boot (thanks to Alexander Couzens from coreboot)

Build system now uses multiple CPU cores when building, speeding up building for some people. Manually specifying how many cores are needed is also possible, for those using the build system in a chroot environment. (thanks go to Timothy Pearson from coreboot)

In the build system (git repository), https:// is now used when cloning coreboot. http:// is used as a fallback for GRUB, if git:// fails.

New payload, the depthcharge bootloader (free bootloader maintained by Google) for use on the ASUS Chromebook C201. (thanks go to Paul Kocialkowski)

Various fixes to the ich9gen utility (e.g. flash component density is now set correctly in the descriptor, gbe-less descriptors now supported)

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