Open Source Firmware Conference 2018
At September 12-15 the first conference focusing exclusively on open source firmware took place in Erlangen, Germany - the OSFC 2018. The mission of this conference is to provide an appropriate platform to bring together as many Open Source projects, hardware manufacturers and developers as possible, in order to collaborate, share knowledge and push the firmware development in an Open Source manner.
Different topics related to the open firmware developments mostly targeting different bootloader or payload variants were presented at the conference. LinuxBoot, coreboot, U-Boot and TianoCore and ARM Trusted Firmware related topics were intensively covered in different talks.
Pengutronix and the barebox bootloader project were represented by Sascha Hauer and Oleksij Rempel. While we didn't do any presentation ourselves we had a chance to communicate with many developers representing different projects with open or even closed nature.
From different talks I would note the following:
- many vendors do things and not always contribute back to initial open source projects - (this is not new)
- some vendors are looking for open source alternatives, for example for BIOS, because government related customers forbid usage of closed software for security reasons.
- almost all companies make their own variants of bootloaders, with special use case covering specific hardware.
All in all, it was an interesting conference, with many good talks and insights into other firmware projects' motivation.
Wir wollen zum Bundesweiten Digitaltag am 18.6.2021 das Thema "Smarte Städte" ein bisschen von der technischen Seite beleuchten, aber keine Angst: es bleibt für alle verständlich.
"FOSDEM is a free event for software developers to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Every year, thousands of developers of free and open source software from all over the world gather at the event in Brussels. In 2021, they will gather online." -- FOSDEM
Now that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has gotten used to digitalisation and online conferences - it has never been easier to organise a conference and bring together all experts and interested parties for a few hours of intensive exchange of ideas on a certain topic.
barebox works great on NXP's i.MX platforms. While there is some support for Marvell's mvebu platform, it is not even near being complete. The main limitation is in my eyes that there is no code to initialize RAM settings on these machines.
The Arria10 SoCFPGA can boot from multiple sources: SD Card, NAND flash, QSPI flash and eMMC, that can be selected via the BSEL pins. If the bootrom can not find a valid bootloader on that medium, it will fall back to JTAG. So for developing and testing, the BSEL pins can just be set to a medium that is non-existent. In case of bootstrapping, the bootrom falls back to JTAG anyway, as there is no valid bootloader, yet.
One of our projects required the addition of board support for the Digi ConnectCore 6UL SBC Pro to the Barebox bootloader. This article outlines the used development setup and required additions to the bootloader to support a board with a well supported processor. Development of the board support was done live during the monthly talks at Stratum 0, the hackerspace in Braunschweig. The video (in German) is embedded at the end of the article.