Damien Zammit - Coreboot

  • Coreboot is a Free Software replacement for proprietary BIOS - really important project
  • Coreboot does the minimal initialisation of hardware, hands off rest of the task to a "payload" program like GRUB or SeaBIOS
  • sister project Flashrom handles complex task of writing to different flash ROM chips
  • lots of manual work for Coreboot to support each new machine, even if similar components
  • recent Intel machines require proprietary blob
  • AMD have an agreement with Coreboot to provide full specs - yay!
  • installing Coreboot on Lenovo Thinkpad T60
    • T60 that Damien owns has about 5 different variations
    • visually identify flashrom chip (get hands dirty)
    • first time compiled Coreboot and flashed, machine was dead
      • you need a recovery method first, eg. external flashing device
      • always take a backup of existing BIOS with Flashrom
    • was able to restore original BIOS with external clip and Rasberry Pi
    • T60 had some unusual settings that reverse flash memory - challenging
    • once installed relatively easy to upgrade
  • Damien also working on replacing binary blob in modern Intel boards
    • null modem cable to give serial output from Coreboot eg. printf
  • EFI is just software with an agreed spec. - Coreboot replaces it
  • Damien also tried Coreboot on a modern AMD AGESA HUDSON board and worked first time - F2A85-M ~ $70 for board
  • Libreboot restricted subset of Coreboot without binary blobs
  • Also started a wiki about why proprietary blobs in BIOS is bad and issues with Intel
    • additional ARC CPU with RSA signed code that can control main CPU and talk to the Internet
      • runs a real-time OS
      • every model after T60/X60
      • not an issue with AMD boards


OpenSSL Heartbeat vulnerability

  • affects both servers and clients
    • upgrade Android 4.1 or greater
    • not all TLS implementations, not GnuTLS
    • not GPG related
  • upgrade and replace private keys
  • must also restart all services
  • broken into mainstream, lots of confusion and bad reporting
  • interesting issues relating to free software
    • wouldn't have been discovered or fixed easily otherwise
    • trolling about Free Software negatives
  • interesting that two discovered at same time


Project Gooseberry

  • looking for more donations by this weekend
  • feature length film

Embrace the Remix Ted video

  • ted.com videos supported by free software without flash!
  • very much worth a watch - touches on copyright and patent problems


Talk by Jacob Appelbaum at Libre Planet

  • first talk available from March 2014 LibrePlanet conference (because it was given by videoconference)
  • talks and shows a Novena{: page-href="wiki:///meetingNotes/20140417"}