Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 56

Thread: An Effort Making An Open-Source Radeon Video BIOS

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    14,369

    Default An Effort Making An Open-Source Radeon Video BIOS

    Phoronix: An Effort Making An Open-Source Radeon Video BIOS

    OpenRadeonBIOS is a new open-source project seeking to create an open-source video BIOS for AMD/ATI Radeon graphics cards...

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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    378

    Default

    What's the point?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    730

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mmstick View Post
    What's the point?
    First it cant hurt. 2nd NSA Scandal. could somebody say me if you coulld implement a nsa backdoor into such a firmware and 2nd question, if not, could you do it in a driver like the proprietary nvidia driverblob or the one from amd?

    and another question is it possible to hinder a bios to make tcp connections and send data?

    I would love to have a coreboot patched system but they are very rare, at the moment.


    And no I dont think the radeon firmware is a big problem. the one from intel is also closedsource. I dont get the big difference rms does about if its flashable or not... antifeatures could be in the initial firmware if its possible.

    I would love to hear something about it. I am no driver developer so I am not shure, I think a firmware of a grafic card should not be able to make the kernel send data into the internet right? could a full blob do that? could it have direct hw-access to other cards or something?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by blackiwid View Post
    First it cant hurt. 2nd NSA Scandal. could somebody say me if you coulld implement a nsa backdoor into such a firmware and 2nd question, if not, could you do it in a driver like the proprietary nvidia driverblob or the one from amd?

    and another question is it possible to hinder a bios to make tcp connections and send data?

    I would love to have a coreboot patched system but they are very rare, at the moment.


    And no I dont think the radeon firmware is a big problem. the one from intel is also closedsource. I dont get the big difference rms does about if its flashable or not... antifeatures could be in the initial firmware if its possible.

    I would love to hear something about it. I am no driver developer so I am not shure, I think a firmware of a grafic card should not be able to make the kernel send data into the internet right? could a full blob do that? could it have direct hw-access to other cards or something?
    And to add, it could new possibilities to enhance performance for amd/ati cards with free drivers on GNU/Linux and *BSD.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    378

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by blackiwid View Post
    First it cant hurt. 2nd NSA Scandal. could somebody say me if you coulld implement a nsa backdoor into such a firmware and 2nd question, if not, could you do it in a driver like the proprietary nvidia driverblob or the one from amd?

    and another question is it possible to hinder a bios to make tcp connections and send data?

    I would love to have a coreboot patched system but they are very rare, at the moment.


    And no I dont think the radeon firmware is a big problem. the one from intel is also closedsource. I dont get the big difference rms does about if its flashable or not... antifeatures could be in the initial firmware if its possible.

    I would love to hear something about it. I am no driver developer so I am not shure, I think a firmware of a grafic card should not be able to make the kernel send data into the internet right? could a full blob do that? could it have direct hw-access to other cards or something?
    None of that really sounds realistic to me. It's just a BIOS for a graphics card. It has nothing to do with anything other than 'basic input/out' functions for the card itself. The only reason I could think of for a custom BIOS is to enable disabled features (FireGL features on RadeonHD? They are literally the same cards). Or maybe a tool that allows you to create a custom BIOS with whatever voltages/frequencies you want. I still see no reason for this.
    Last edited by mmstick; 07-27-2013 at 11:22 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    10

    Default

    To scratch an itch or enforce their philosophy. Some random guy who may be doing something cool or not doesn't need a reason that you agree with or not.


    And again, something cool might come out of it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    378

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Edogaa View Post
    To scratch an itch or enforce their philosophy. Some random guy who may be doing something cool or not doesn't need a reason that you agree with or not.


    And again, something cool might come out of it.
    Why should the community care about someone's overzealous 'philosophy'; that sounds ridiculously absurd. There is nothing subjective about this. If there is no practical use for something, then it is worthless whether you agree with it or not.

    Something 'cool' can't really come of this since it's just a simple BIOS that anyone could hack themselves. It's not like untapped potential is hidden in GPU BIOS's. Hardware is released with BIOS's that make full use of all their capabilities as is. Motherboard BIOS's are the only thing that would be worthy of looking into since they handle a much more significant portion of control over hardware in the system (like RAM models, timings, CPU support, etc).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    59

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by blackiwid View Post
    First it cant hurt. 2nd NSA Scandal. could somebody say me if you coulld implement a nsa backdoor into such a firmware and 2nd question, if not, could you do it in a driver like the proprietary nvidia driverblob or the one from amd?
    When you run their code (the binary blob) you're running their code. That means if they wanted to, they could practically do anything given it is executed with root permissions which as far as I'm aware it is. I don't know about firmware. Anyone care to elaborate?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1,287

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by blackiwid View Post
    First it cant hurt. 2nd NSA Scandal. could somebody say me if you coulld implement a nsa backdoor into such a firmware and 2nd question, if not, could you do it in a driver like the proprietary nvidia driverblob or the one from amd?
    Firmware, I guess you can't (at least on the video card), drivers, yes, anything that has root privileges, which kernel drivers (like a part of the graphics one) has got.

    Quote Originally Posted by mmstick View Post
    None of that really sounds realistic to me. It's just a BIOS for a graphics card. It has nothing to do with anything other than 'basic input/out' functions for the card itself. The only reason I could think of for a custom BIOS is to enable disabled features (FireGL features on RadeonHD? They are literally the same cards). Or maybe a tool that allows you to create a custom BIOS with whatever voltages/frequencies you want. I still see no reason for this.
    You could disable features you don't use (for example, I've never in my life used either DVI on the desltop or HDMI in general, so I might as well disable their support), for possible performance gains. This said, I don't think you gain anything perceivable, so no point in doing so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edogaa View Post
    To scratch an itch or enforce their philosophy. Some random guy who may be doing something cool or not doesn't need a reason that you agree with or not.
    ^THIS.
    The guy hurts no one. I don't know if I'd take the risk of flashing my video cards, but if he achieves anything cool, even better for him and whoever is interested on this.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    481

    Default Wireshark would bust an NSA backdoor in a graphics card

    Quote Originally Posted by blackiwid View Post
    First it cant hurt. 2nd NSA Scandal. could somebody say me if you coulld implement a nsa backdoor into such a firmware and 2nd question, if not, could you do it in a driver like the proprietary nvidia driverblob or the one from amd?

    and another question is it possible to hinder a bios to make tcp connections and send data?

    I would love to have a coreboot patched system but they are very rare, at the moment.


    And no I dont think the radeon firmware is a big problem. the one from intel is also closedsource. I dont get the big difference rms does about if its flashable or not... antifeatures could be in the initial firmware if its possible.

    I would love to hear something about it. I am no driver developer so I am not shure, I think a firmware of a grafic card should not be able to make the kernel send data into the internet right? could a full blob do that? could it have direct hw-access to other cards or something?
    Here's what would happen if say, Nvidia were dumb enough to use their binary blob to carry a backdoor for the NSA. Let's assume that big blob could more easily do this than the tiny Intel (on chip) or ATI (on disk) firmwares or video card BIOS blobs. Somebody, somwhere, running Wireshark would notice the packets always going out to one server or a small group of servers, possibly because they didn't trust the blob (or the firmware,or their BIOS, or whatever). They could compare with and without the blob(or coreboot, etc) and quickly see the suspicious activity. Open source or closed, concealing network activity from all users is rather like hiding a back door from all users of an open-source program. Instead of source code, someone is surely looking at packets.

    Nvidia and ATI would shit bricks if the NSA asked them to risk installing a surveillance program that could be detected by a random hacker from Anonymous, then revealed in all it's glory to their potential customers. All this assumes the graphics card can even get access to the network, the only thing I ever worried about was passwords echoed to the screen, an unnecessary risk that is always blocked by just about everyone. If Intel does this, it won't be in the graphics but elsewhere-and they'd still have Wireshark, etc to worry about.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •