Libreboot Open-Source BIOS/UEFI Firmware Adds More Hardware Support

Leah Rowe has unveiled a new iteration (20240225) of the Libreboot project, an open-source and free alternative to proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware, which now extends its compatibility to additional hardware and introduces further enhancements.

Libreboot 20240225 arrives approximately a month following its predecessor and is designated as a “testing” release, recommended for those adventurous enough to switch from their proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware to an open-source solution. A stable version of Libreboot is anticipated to be released around June or July 2024.

This update includes support for several new mainboards such as the HP EliteBook 8560w (incorporating MXM handling in SeaBIOS), Dell Latitude E5520, Dell Latitude E5530, Dell Latitude E6520, Dell Latitude E6420, Dell OptiPlex 9020/7020 SFF (and XE2 SFF), along with Dell OptiPlex 9020/7020 MT (and XE2 MT), the latter tested with both Haswell and Broadwell MRCs.

A significant enhancement in the Libreboot 20240225 release, poised to boost hardware support in future versions, is the adoption of the Flash Prog software. This tool supersedes Flashrom for tasks such as identifying, reading, writing, verifying, and erasing flash chips, and is utilized by Libreboot for flashing BIOS/UEFI firmware images onto mainboards.

Leah Rowe has announced that the latest Libreboot release, version 20240225, marks a significant shift in the project’s approach to firmware flashing tools. “For the first time, Libreboot is incorporating the Flash prog sources instead of Flash ROM. From now on, our support will be focused exclusively on flashprog. This distribution of flashprog includes the macronix workaround, which is particularly useful for external flashing of the ThinkPad X200,” she stated.

In addition to this change, the release enhances the pico-sprog utility to manage multiple chip-selects. This improvement allows users to set inactive chip selections high, a feature that could prove beneficial for external flashing on Intel IFD-based systems where the two flashes are connected without resistors between the shared data lines.

Furthermore, the update includes a refined U-Boot release script that enables the creation of standalone U-Boot source archives (e.g., ./update release -m u-boot). The developers have also addressed various issues, ensuring a smoother user experience. For a detailed overview of the improvements and fixes, users are encouraged to review the release notes. Libreboot 20240225 is available for download from the official website, offering users the latest advancements in open-source firmware.

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