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Thread: How To Reverse Engineer A Motherboard BIOS

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  1. #1
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    Default How To Reverse Engineer A Motherboard BIOS

    Phoronix: How To Reverse Engineer A Motherboard BIOS

    Since being let go by Novell last year where he worked on the RadeonHD Linux graphics driver and X.Org support within SuSE Linux, Luc Verhaegen has continued work on his VIA Unichrome DDX driver as well as other X.Org code and he has also become involved with the CoreBoot project that aims to create a free software BIOS for most chipsets and motherboards on the market. Luc has worked on support for flashing the BIOS on ATI graphics cards, native VGA text mode support, and other work to help the CoreBoot project. Today at FOSDEM in Brussels, Luc Verhaegen is about to give a talk on reverse engineering a motherboard BIOS.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=14567

  2. #2
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    Can you please put the images of the presentation in a more userfriendly way? (ie. click on a large image to get to the next slide?)

  3. #3
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    Or maybe ask libv for the source file of the presentation, e.g. the odt. (If he had not used tex beamer or something like that). Or a pdf.
    Not that I'd understand much of BIOS hacking but good to see libv is still around coding after his via driver stuff kinda broke.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    Awesome, MartjeB, thank you.


    Michael, could you please upload the video somewhere as a real file, so not only youtube or similar? If you don't want the traffic just create a torrent. Thanks

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by bugmenot View Post
    Michael, could you please upload the video somewhere as a real file, so not only youtube or similar? If you don't want the traffic just create a torrent. Thanks
    I may offer direct video files to Premium subscribers, but outside of that I have no plans to.

  7. #7
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    I wish I could use Coreboot on my motherboard (ASUS P4V800D-X with VIA PT880 Ultra chipset). I'm getting many restrictions which I can't break. The worst is that it's PCI-Express 1.0A but it's not compatible with PCI-E 2.0 (althrough there's simmilar motherboard (based on the same chipset) from Asrock and Asrock has put newer BIOS which supports PCI-E 2.0 graphic cards.
    I've got R7xx card which works just fine on that Asrock with newer BIOS (confirmed by many users) but it doesn't work with my ASUS (ASUS get dropped support for that motherboard at early 2007) so it only gets dusty on shelf. The second problem is that I've got 3GB RAM and I can use only 2.5-2.7GB because of AGP aperture (I'm using both AGP R3xx and PCI-E 1.0 R3xx cards on this board now).
    I bet I could get more of my computer with Coreboot but I'm not so ecouraged yet to try it - if something got wrong I don't have EEPROM flasher to flash it. If it would be as safe as I could boot from floppy, usb or hdd to flash it then I would try it.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2009
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    The talk was yesterday, right? When will we see the video?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MartjeB View Post
    The talk was yesterday, right? When will we see the video?
    Hopefully tomorrow... The FOSDEM Internet connection is unreliable and at my hotel in Brussels it's also horrificly slow and unstable. I am hoping tomorrow in Germany I will be able to start uploading them, which is about a 3GB file per talk.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by xeros View Post
    I wish I could use Coreboot on my motherboard (ASUS P4V800D-X with VIA PT880 Ultra chipset). I'm getting many restrictions which I can't break. The worst is that it's PCI-Express 1.0A but it's not compatible with PCI-E 2.0 (althrough there's simmilar motherboard (based on the same chipset) from Asrock and Asrock has put newer BIOS which supports PCI-E 2.0 graphic cards.
    I've got R7xx card which works just fine on that Asrock with newer BIOS (confirmed by many users) but it doesn't work with my ASUS (ASUS get dropped support for that motherboard at early 2007) so it only gets dusty on shelf. The second problem is that I've got 3GB RAM and I can use only 2.5-2.7GB because of AGP aperture (I'm using both AGP R3xx and PCI-E 1.0 R3xx cards on this board now).
    I bet I could get more of my computer with Coreboot but I'm not so ecouraged yet to try it - if something got wrong I don't have EEPROM flasher to flash it. If it would be as safe as I could boot from floppy, usb or hdd to flash it then I would try it.
    I would suggest seeing what Flashrom sees on your board- from what I understand, it takes less to get Flashrom up for a board then Coreboot. Give Flashrom a try- the folks are extremely good, and if something should go wrong (never reboot until it's fixed), they're quite good at finding the issue and getting you up & running again.

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