Online / 6 & 7 February 2021


Status of OpenPOWER support in coreboot

The presentation describes efforts of porting OpenPOWER architecture firmware to open source firmware framework - coreboot. Although OpenPOWER firmware has been open-sourced some time ago, it may still benefit by implementing the support in coreboot. The differences and benefits of the OpenPOWER firmware and coreboot will be mentioned as well as current progress of work and challenges faced during development.

The IBM POWERPC architecture exists since early 90. Many may also know that the POWER processors were used in Apple Macintosh between 1994-2006. Today the IBM goes forward with their POWER processors releasing newer and newer processor families like POWER9 and even POWER10 recently. Modern POWER architecture features very high computing performance with multi-core processors which makes them ideal for servers and computing clusters. They also are great as a workstation, for example Raptor Computing Systems Talos II (POWER9), which is the reference platform used during the coreboot port. A huge advantage of OpenPOWER architecture is its openness. Compared to modern x86 architecture which is full of binary blobs, POWER can easily rival with x86 domination and dethrone it from the most common used processors architecture in modern computers. Although the OpenPOWER firmware and documentation is open-source the development of coreboot for POWER9 is very challenging and full of unknowns. In this presentation you will hear about the current progress of the work on coreboot POWER9 support, what problems we face and how much effort it takes to enable new architecture in coreboot.


Photo of Michał Żygowski Michał Żygowski