osboot project

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osboot is freedom-respecting boot firmware that initializes the hardware (e.g. memory controller, CPU, peripherals) in your computer so that software can run. osboot then starts a bootloader to load your operating system. It replaces the proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware typically found on a computer. osboot is compatible with specific computer models that use the x86 architecture. osboot works with all of the most popular operating systems such as GNU+Linux, BSD or Windows. User support is available at #osboot on Libera Chat IRC.

osboot is a Free Software project, but can be considered Open Source. The GNU website teaches why you should call it Free Software instead; alternatively, you may call it libre software.

osboot uses coreboot for hardware initialization. However, coreboot is notoriously difficult to compile and install for most non-technical users. There are many complicated configuration steps required, and coreboot by itself is useless; coreboot only handles basic hardware initialization, and then jumps to a separate payload program. The payload program can be anything, for example a Linux kernel, bootloader (such as GNU GRUB), UEFI implementation (such as Tianocore) or BIOS implementation (such as SeaBIOS). While not quite as complicated as building a GNU+Linux distribution from scratch, it may aswell be as far as most non-technical users are concerned.

osboot solves this problem in a novel way: osboot is a coreboot distribution much like Debian is a GNU+Linux distribution. osboot provides an automated build system that downloads, patches (where necessary) and compiles coreboot, GNU GRUB, various payloads and all other software components needed to build a complete, working ROM image that you can install to replace your current BIOS/UEFI firmware, much like a GNU+Linux distribution (e.g. Debian) provides an ISO image that you can use to replace your current operating system (e.g. Windows).

Why use osboot?

Because you have rights. The right to privacy, freedom of thought, freedom of speech and the right to read. In the context of computing, that means anyone can use free software. Simply speaking, free software is software that is under the direct sovereignty of the user and, more importantly, the collective that is the community. osboot is dedicated to the Free Software community, with the aim of making free software at a low level more accessible to non-technical people.

Many people use proprietary boot firmware, even if they use GNU+Linux. Non-free boot firmware often contains backdoors, can be slow and have severe bugs. Development and support can be abandoned at any time. By contrast, osboot is a free software project, where anyone can contribute or inspect its code.

osboot is faster, more secure and more reliable than most non-free firmware. osboot provides many advanced features, like encrypted /boot/, GPG signature checking before booting a Linux kernel and more! osboot gives you control over your computing.

osboot provides these payload choices:

How is osboot different versus Libreboot?

osboot development started on December 11th, 2020, forked from the Libreboot 20160907 build system. osboot is similar philosophically to Libreboot, but with one difference: Libreboot only allows support for boards where the firmware can be 100% Free Software as per what is installed to the boot flash. Libreboot complies fully with FSF/GNU criteria defining what free software is.

osboot merely prefers this, but allows binary blobs. osboot will accept any board that coreboot supports. The coreboot software supports literally hundreds of computers, but on most of them it is not entirely free software, but instead relies on added binary blobs typically provided by the hardware manufacturers. E.g. mrc.bin for raminit (initialization of memory controller) and other initialization tasks.

It was started in response to a growing trend in the community: lots of people are interested in Libreboot, but wish to use newer/faster hardware. Porting Libreboot to newer Intel/AMD hardware is very difficult. Meanwhile, there existed no user-friendly solution like Libreboot. osboot provides an easy, automated build system and installation process, with user-friendly documentation and professional user support backed up by years of experience dealing with coreboot systems.

The entire motivation behind this permissive policy (in osboot) is that it will lead to many more coreboot users, on all coreboot systems, especially when more people join the osboot project as maintainers for various boards. By increasing the ease of use and accessibility for a given coreboot system, for non-technical users, it increases the amount of technical users because more people learn about coreboot. This increases the number of people that can provide testing for coreboot, and will very likely:

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