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Coreboot on the X210

Old(er) Thinkpads with New(er) Intestines: X62 / T50 / T70 / etc.
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mjg59
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 7:53 am

Coreboot on the X210

#1 Post by mjg59 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:52 am

Hi! I've just finished a first attempt at a port of Coreboot (www.coreboot.org) to the X210. For those who are unaware, Coreboot is a (mostly) open source firmware implementation that replaces the system firmware. I'm running it as my primary firmware now, and it boots Linux happily but probably wouldn't work so well with Windows at the moment. The source code is at github.com/mjg59/coreboot, but please bear in mind that making any kind of mistake during the build or flash process (such as not including the embedded controller firmware) will render your machine unbootable and you'll need additional hardware to recover it. This is primarily something I've done for my own interest, but if anyone else is enthusiastic about running it I'll see if I can make some binaries available and provide instructions for flashing it.

flyingfishfinger
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:42 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#2 Post by flyingfishfinger » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:09 am

Very nice project!

Personally I'd be more interested in an X62 variant, but I wish you the best with the completion of this one. Can't help you test due to lack of X210 though, sorry.

R

tadfisher
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:59 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#3 Post by tadfisher » Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:36 pm

Very cool! I'd love binaries as building coreboot is quite involved if the distribution doesn't provide the build infrastructure for it (e.g. NixOS).

mjg59
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 7:53 am

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#4 Post by mjg59 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:06 am

I'll post binaries shortly - I'm just trying to track down an issue where everything works fine on my machine but wlan doesn't show up on another (nominally identical) board.

jlee
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:34 pm
Location: West Covina, California

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#5 Post by jlee » Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:42 pm

Wow. this is pretty cool. How's battery life comparing coreboot to the default bios?

L29Ah
Freshman Member
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:25 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#6 Post by L29Ah » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:47 pm

Do you plan pushing it to the upstream?
X210; X230 with coreboot and nitrocaster's FHD mod as a backup; R500 for guests; T60 just for the looks.

flyingfishfinger
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Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:42 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#7 Post by flyingfishfinger » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:20 am

What flash chip is used on the X210?

R

mjg59
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 7:53 am

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#8 Post by mjg59 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:47 pm

The issue with the wifi card turned out to be mechanical. I'm in the process of rebasing this on current upstream and will post some binaries once I'm done.

mjg59
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 7:53 am

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#9 Post by mjg59 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:45 pm

Ok, uploaded stuff to https://github.com/mjg59/coreboot/releases/tag/x210_1.0 - the coreboot.rom image there can be flashed directly using Flashrom with current git:

sudo flashrom -p internal:laptop=force_I_want_a_brick -w coreboot.rom

Note that, as the argument suggests, this might go horribly wrong and you'll need an external programmer to rescue you. If you build from source, no matter what you do ensure that you include the embedded controller firmware otherwise the machine will end up completely broken and very hard to re-flash. The blobs.zip file contains the device-specific binaries that are required during the build.

This image will give you a UEFI system with no BIOS support. It boots Linux fine - I have no idea whether it will boot Windows. I've only tested this with a batch 2 device, I don't know what it'll do on batch 1 boards given the SATA/NVMe issues. Batch 3 boards seem to use the same firmware as batch 2, so maybe that'll work, but don't blame me if it doesn't.

skx
Freshman Member
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:25 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#10 Post by skx » Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:45 pm

mjg59 wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:45 pm
Ok, uploaded stuff to https://github.com/mjg59/coreboot/releases/tag/x210_1.0 - the coreboot.rom image there can be flashed directly using Flashrom with current git:

sudo flashrom -p internal:laptop=force_I_want_a_brick -w coreboot.rom
WARNING: do not internal flash your device with stock bios as I will rather sooner than not end up in a non booting machine and if you do not have a dump of your bios it will be a paper weight. internal flashing only works as soon as you did your initial coreboot flash with external flasher

mjg59: how did you flash your initial flashed coreboot rom? external flashing, right?
ThinkPad X220: i5-2520M CPU 2.5GHz - 8GB RAM 1333 MHz - SSD 860 EVO 250GB - Debian - ME_cleaned
ThinkPad X230: i5-3320M CPU 3.3GHz - 8GB RAM 1600 MHz - SSD 860 EVO 500GB - Debian - ME_cleaned

mjg59
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 7:53 am

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#11 Post by mjg59 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:32 pm

No, this machine has never had an external flasher connected (we did the initial port on another machine and did use a flasher there). I've switched between stock and coreboot several times using -p internal.

mjg59
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 7:53 am

Re: Coreboot on the X210

#12 Post by mjg59 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:35 pm

(Oops, duplicate)

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