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Documentation is now handled by the same processes we use for code: Add something to the Documentation/ directory in the coreboot repo, and it will be rendered to https://doc.coreboot.org/. Contributions welcome!
Before you begin
The Gigabyte M57SLI-S4 seems to exist in at least 2 versions: one with a PLCC socket for the BIOS chip (socketed BIOS), and one with the PLCC BIOS chip soldered onto the board (soldered BIOS). The former might be a pre-production board since nobody has so far (2007/03) confirmed the purchase of a M57SLI-S4 board with socketed BIOS.
The fact that the BIOS is soldered onto the board complicates matters considerably, because it means that one flash of a faulty image will 'brick' your board.
It is possible to desolder the BIOS chip, and replace it with a PLCC socket. You will need some tools (heat gun/pencil, good soldering iron, etc) and soldering experience to do that. There has also been some speculation about the unpopulated paths for a second PLCC socket/chip, and whether it would be possible to put a PLCC socket on there and switch between the on-board BIOS and the extra socket.
If you're going to work on this board, I suggest you put a socket on it, or ask a friend to do so. It's just too risky otherwise.
Once you put a socket on the board, you will also discover that the RD1-PMC4 BiosSavior does not work with this motherboard: the RD1's built-in chip seems to be incompatible with the mainboard. This means you will need to hot-swap BIOS chips until you have a working LinuxBIOS chip. Plugging your BIOS chip into the RD1 and switching it to 'ORG' does work though. I have used the BiosSavior to ease hot swapping; it's a lot easier to pull out the BiosSavior and replace the chip plugged into it than to replace the ROM chip on the board.
Finding a BiosSavior can be a little tricky - most resellers seem to be out of stock, and the rumor is that IOSS has stopped producing them. This is the list of resellers:
I was able to purchase a couple (2007/03) from Eksitdata in Sweden.
This wiki page is maintained by Ward Vandewege (ward at gnu dot org).
LinuxBIOS requires a Payload to boot an operating system.
If you want to boot from the network, you will need to use Etherboot.
If you want to boot from an IDE drive, SATA drive, USB stick or CDROM, you can use FILO.
Building the payload
In order to boot from a SATA disk, we use FILO.
Once you've downloaded FILO, you will need to put a file 'Config' in its root tree. An example can be found in the distribution, called 'defconfig'.
You can configure FILO to load Grub. Here's my Config, which does that:
# Use grub instead of autoboot? USE_GRUB = 1 # Grub menu.lst path MENULST_FILE = "hde1:/grub/menu.lst" # Driver for hard disk, CompactFlash, and CD-ROM on IDE bus IDE_DISK = 1 # Add a short delay when polling status registers # (required on some broken SATA controllers) IDE_DISK_POLL_DELAY = 1 # Driver for USB Storage USB_DISK = 1 # VGA text console VGA_CONSOLE = 1 PC_KEYBOARD = 1 # Enable the serial console SERIAL_CONSOLE = 1 # Serial console; real external serial port SERIAL_IOBASE = 0x3f8 SERIAL_SPEED = 115200 # Filesystems FSYS_EXT2FS = 1 FSYS_ISO9660 = 1 # Support for boot disk image in bootable CD-ROM (El Torito) ELTORITO = 1 # PCI support SUPPORT_PCI = 1 # Enable this to scan PCI busses above bus 0 # AMD64 based boards do need this. PCI_BRUTE_SCAN = 1 # Loader for standard Linux kernel image, a.k.a. /vmlinuz LINUX_LOADER = 1
In order to get serial output from Grub, you will also need to add something like this to your menu.list:
# serial port 0 serial --unit=0 --speed=115200 terminal --timeout=15 serial console
Now execute 'make', which will generate a filo.elf file that will be your payload. You will need to refer to this file to build LinuxBIOS as explained below, because it gets included in the LinuxBIOS ROM image.
When using FILO in grub emulation mode, it's important to get a few details right in your grub boot stanza. This is what mine looks like:
title Ubuntu LB, kernel 2.6.21-rc3 root (hd4,0) kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.21-rc3 root=/dev/sda1 ro acpi_use_timer_override console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200 savedefault boot
Note the root device - FILO sees the first sata device as hd4.
Also, the m57sli-s4 will not boot unless you add pci=noacpi,routeirq as a kernel option. Hopefully this will be fixed in newer kernels.
Current status of the LBv2 tree
As of 2007-03-19, the v2 tree does not yet have all the necessary patches to build a working LinuxBIOS for the M57SLI-S4. For now, we have to work from the patches that Yinghai Lu sent to the LinuxBIOS list on January 19. Download all three archives and extract them into a directory on your system:
The code comes with a script called 'nsf', which, out of the box, is quite dangerous. NEVER run this script as root without any arguments - it will wipe out most of your system. I suggest you replace it with this version instead:
#!/bin/bash MBVENDOR=$1 MBMODEL=$2 LBROOT=/home/yhlu/xx/xx/xx/ if [ "$MBVENDOR" = "" ] || [ "$MBMODEL" = "" ]; then cat ./readme_mcp55.txt echo echo "ERROR: Not enough command line arguments" exit 1 fi echo $MBVENDOR/$MBMODEL date cd "$LBROOT/freebios2/targets" rm -rf "$MBVENDOR/$MBMODEL/$MBMODEL" ./buildtarget "$MBVENDOR/$MBMODEL" &> "$LBROOT/x_b.txt" cd "$MBVENDOR/$MBMODEL/$MBMODEL" #make clean eval make &> "$LBROOT/x_m.txt" if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then echo "ok." else echo "FAILED! Log excerpt:" tail -n 20 "$LBROOT/x_m.txt" exit fi cat ./normal/linuxbios.rom ./fallback/linuxbios.rom ./failover/linuxbios.rom > "$LBROOT/rom/"$MBMODEL"_linuxbios.rom" ls -l "$LBROOT/"$MBMODEL"_linuxbios.rom" date
You will need to update the LBROOT variable to be correct for your system.
Unless you have a USB debug device, you should disable USB debug support from the codebase to allow for a much faster boot (otherwise the code will probe for the USB device that is not there, which will take a long time). Edit this file:
and make sure that CONFIG_USBDEBUG_DIRECT is set to 0, not 1:
Next, make sure that the path to your payload is correct, by editing
and updating all the lines that start with 'payload'. There are 2 occurrences, one for the normal image, and one for the fallback image.
Now execute nsf to build the right image. Make sure you are NOT doing this as the root user:
nsf gigabyte m57sli
When that's done, you will find a file called 'm57sli_linuxbios.rom' in the 'rom' subdirectory.
That's the file that should be burned into your BIOS chip.
Make SURE that you have a fallback position: a rom chip with backup copy of your factory ROM image (you can make one with flashrom), and either a socket on the board to plug the backup chip into, or the tools and skills to remove a 'bricked' BIOS chip from the board and replace it with a socket for the backup chip.
You could also follow ST's instructions to add a PLCC socket in the empty position next to the soldered-on BIOS chips. With an extra resistor and a switch, that seems to allow easy swapping between bios chips on this board.
If you do not prepare properly, you are likely to brick your motherboard. You have been warned!
You can use flashrom from the LinuxBIOS v2 tree to burn the image:
util/flashrom/flashrom -v -w rom/m57sli_linuxbios.rom
Now shut down your computer (a reset will not work, you need to power down), and restart it. Hook up a serial console so that you can see what's happening.
The mac address for the onboard network card will have changed, so you may have to modify /etc/iftab (Debian/Ubuntu, see your distro documentation for the equivalent file) to get your network working.
Did something go wrong? Use your backup rom chip (you DID make one, right?) to boot into the proprietary BIOS, and see if you can resolve the problem. Feel free to contact the friendly and helpful mailing list if you need help.
ACPI support is not implemented yet. This is a fairly major problem, and needs to be addressed soon.
There is also still an issue with I2C, which causes X startup to be very slow. You can bypass this problem by adding
to your "Device" section.
If you can help out with this, please join the mailing list and let us know!