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# Copyright (C) 2014, Simon Glass <>
# Copyright (C) 2014, Bin Meng <>
# SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
U-Boot on x86
This document describes the information about U-Boot running on x86 targets,
including supported boards, build instructions, todo list, etc.
U-Boot supports running as a coreboot [1] payload on x86. So far only Link
(Chromebook Pixel) and QEMU [2] x86 targets have been tested, but it should
work with minimal adjustments on other x86 boards since coreboot deals with
most of the low-level details.
U-Boot also supports booting directly from x86 reset vector, without coreboot.
In this case, known as bare mode, from the fact that it runs on the
'bare metal', U-Boot acts like a BIOS replacement. The following platforms
are supported:
- Bayley Bay CRB
- Congatec QEVAL 2.0 & conga-QA3/E3845
- Cougar Canyon 2 CRB
- Crown Bay CRB
- Galileo
- Link (Chromebook Pixel)
- Minnowboard MAX
- Samus (Chromebook Pixel 2015)
- QEMU x86
As for loading an OS, U-Boot supports directly booting a 32-bit or 64-bit
Linux kernel as part of a FIT image. It also supports a compressed zImage.
U-Boot supports loading an x86 VxWorks kernel. Please check README.vxworks
for more details.
Build Instructions for U-Boot as coreboot payload
Building U-Boot as a coreboot payload is just like building U-Boot for targets
on other architectures, like below:
$ make coreboot-x86_defconfig
$ make all
Note this default configuration will build a U-Boot payload for the QEMU board.
To build a coreboot payload against another board, you can change the build
configuration during the 'make menuconfig' process.
x86 architecture --->
(qemu-x86) Board configuration file
(qemu-x86_i440fx) Board Device Tree Source (dts) file
(0x01920000) Board specific Cache-As-RAM (CAR) address
(0x4000) Board specific Cache-As-RAM (CAR) size
Change the 'Board configuration file' and 'Board Device Tree Source (dts) file'
to point to a new board. You can also change the Cache-As-RAM (CAR) related
settings here if the default values do not fit your new board.
Build Instructions for U-Boot as BIOS replacement (bare mode)
Building a ROM version of U-Boot (hereafter referred to as u-boot.rom) is a
little bit tricky, as generally it requires several binary blobs which are not
shipped in the U-Boot source tree. Due to this reason, the u-boot.rom build is
not turned on by default in the U-Boot source tree. Firstly, you need turn it
on by enabling the ROM build:
$ export BUILD_ROM=y
This tells the Makefile to build u-boot.rom as a target.
Chromebook Link specific instructions for bare mode:
First, you need the following binary blobs:
* descriptor.bin - Intel flash descriptor
* me.bin - Intel Management Engine
* mrc.bin - Memory Reference Code, which sets up SDRAM
* video ROM - sets up the display
You can get these binary blobs by:
$ git clone
$ cd blobs
Find the following files:
* ./mainboard/google/link/descriptor.bin
* ./mainboard/google/link/me.bin
* ./northbridge/intel/sandybridge/systemagent-r6.bin
The 3rd one should be renamed to mrc.bin.
As for the video ROM, you can get it here [3] and rename it to vga.bin.
Make sure all these binary blobs are put in the board directory.
Now you can build U-Boot and obtain u-boot.rom:
$ make chromebook_link_defconfig
$ make all
Chromebook Samus (2015 Pixel) instructions for bare mode:
First, you need the following binary blobs:
* descriptor.bin - Intel flash descriptor
* me.bin - Intel Management Engine
* mrc.bin - Memory Reference Code, which sets up SDRAM
* refcode.elf - Additional Reference code
* vga.bin - video ROM, which sets up the display
If you have a samus you can obtain them from your flash, for example, in
developer mode on the Chromebook (use Ctrl-Alt-F2 to obtain a terminal and
log in as 'root'):
cd /tmp
flashrom -w samus.bin
scp samus.bin username@ip_address:/path/to/somewhere
If not see the coreboot tree [4] where you can use:
bash samus
to get the image. There is also an '' scripts that you can use
on the 'coreboot-Google_Samus.*' file to short-circuit some of the below.
Then 'ifdtool -x samus.bin' on your development machine will produce:
Rename flashregion_0_flashdescriptor.bin to descriptor.bin
Rename flashregion_2_intel_me.bin to me.bin
You can ignore flashregion_1_bios.bin - it is not used.
To get the rest, use 'cbfstool samus.bin print':
samus.bin: 8192 kB, bootblocksize 2864, romsize 8388608, offset 0x700000
alignment: 64 bytes, architecture: x86
Name Offset Type Size
cmos_layout.bin 0x700000 cmos_layout 1164
pci8086,0406.rom 0x7004c0 optionrom 65536
spd.bin 0x710500 (unknown) 4096
cpu_microcode_blob.bin 0x711540 microcode 70720
fallback/romstage 0x722a00 stage 54210
fallback/ramstage 0x72fe00 stage 96382
config 0x7476c0 raw 6075
fallback/vboot 0x748ec0 stage 15980
fallback/refcode 0x74cd80 stage 75578
fallback/payload 0x75f500 payload 62878
u-boot.dtb 0x76eb00 (unknown) 5318
(empty) 0x770000 null 196504
mrc.bin 0x79ffc0 (unknown) 222876
(empty) 0x7d66c0 null 167320
You can extract what you need:
cbfstool samus.bin extract -n pci8086,0406.rom -f vga.bin
cbfstool samus.bin extract -n fallback/refcode -f refcode.rmod
cbfstool samus.bin extract -n mrc.bin -f mrc.bin
cbfstool samus.bin extract -n fallback/refcode -f refcode.bin -U
Note that the -U flag is only supported by the latest cbfstool. It unpacks
and decompresses the stage to produce a coreboot rmodule. This is a simple
representation of an ELF file. You need the patch "Support decoding a stage
with compression".
Put all 5 files into board/google/chromebook_samus.
Now you can build U-Boot and obtain u-boot.rom:
$ make chromebook_link_defconfig
$ make all
If you are using em100, then this command will flash write -Boot:
em100 -s -d filename.rom -c W25Q64CV -r
Intel Crown Bay specific instructions for bare mode:
U-Boot support of Intel Crown Bay board [4] relies on a binary blob called
Firmware Support Package [5] to perform all the necessary initialization steps
as documented in the BIOS Writer Guide, including initialization of the CPU,
memory controller, chipset and certain bus interfaces.
Download the Intel FSP for Atom E6xx series and Platform Controller Hub EG20T,
install it on your host and locate the FSP binary blob. Note this platform
also requires a Chipset Micro Code (CMC) state machine binary to be present in
the SPI flash where u-boot.rom resides, and this CMC binary blob can be found
in this FSP package too.
* ./Microcode/C0_22211.BIN
Rename the first one to fsp.bin and second one to cmc.bin and put them in the
board directory.
Note the FSP release version 001 has a bug which could cause random endless
loop during the FspInit call. This bug was published by Intel although Intel
did not describe any details. We need manually apply the patch to the FSP
binary using any hex editor (eg: bvi). Go to the offset 0x1fcd8 of the FSP
binary, change the following five bytes values from orginally E8 42 FF FF FF
to B8 00 80 0B 00.
As for the video ROM, you need manually extract it from the Intel provided
BIOS for Crown Bay here [6], using the AMI MMTool [7]. Check PCI option ROM
ID 8086:4108, extract and save it as vga.bin in the board directory.
Now you can build U-Boot and obtain u-boot.rom
$ make crownbay_defconfig
$ make all
Intel Cougar Canyon 2 specific instructions for bare mode:
This uses Intel FSP for 3rd generation Intel Core and Intel Celeron processors
with mobile Intel HM76 and QM77 chipsets platform. Download it from Intel FSP
website and put the .fd file (CHIEFRIVER_FSP_GOLD_001_09-OCTOBER-2013.fd at the
time of writing) in the board directory and rename it to fsp.bin.
Now build U-Boot and obtain u-boot.rom
$ make cougarcanyon2_defconfig
$ make all
The board has two 8MB SPI flashes mounted, which are called SPI-0 and SPI-1 in
the board manual. The SPI-0 flash should have flash descriptor plus ME firmware
and SPI-1 flash is used to store U-Boot. For convenience, the complete 8MB SPI-0
flash image is included in the FSP package (named Rom00_8M_MB_PPT.bin). Program
this image to the SPI-0 flash according to the board manual just once and we are
all set. For programming U-Boot we just need to program SPI-1 flash.
Intel Bay Trail based board instructions for bare mode:
This uses as FSP as with Crown Bay, except it is for the Atom E3800 series.
Two boards that use this configuration are Bayley Bay and Minnowboard MAX.
Download this and get the .fd file (BAYTRAIL_FSP_GOLD_003_16-SEP-2014.fd at
the time of writing). Put it in the corresponding board directory and rename
it to fsp.bin.
Obtain the VGA RAM (Vga.dat at the time of writing) and put it into the same
board directory as vga.bin.
You still need two more binary blobs. For Bayley Bay, they can be extracted
from the sample SPI image provided in the FSP (SPI.bin at the time of writing).
$ ./tools/ifdtool -x BayleyBay/SPI.bin
$ cp flashregion_0_flashdescriptor.bin board/intel/bayleybay/descriptor.bin
$ cp flashregion_2_intel_me.bin board/intel/bayleybay/me.bin
For Minnowboard MAX, we can reuse the same ME firmware above, but for flash
descriptor, we need get that somewhere else, as the one above does not seem to
work, probably because it is not designed for the Minnowboard MAX. Now download
the original firmware image for this board from:
Unzip it:
$ unzip
Use ifdtool in the U-Boot tools directory to extract the images from that
file, for example:
$ ./tools/ifdtool -x MNW2MAX1.X64.0073.R02.1409160934.bin
This will provide the descriptor file - copy this into the correct place:
$ cp flashregion_0_flashdescriptor.bin board/intel/minnowmax/descriptor.bin
Now you can build U-Boot and obtain u-boot.rom
Note: below are examples/information for Minnowboard MAX.
$ make minnowmax_defconfig
$ make all
Checksums are as follows (but note that newer versions will invalidate this):
$ md5sum -b board/intel/minnowmax/*.bin
ffda9a3b94df5b74323afb328d51e6b4 board/intel/minnowmax/descriptor.bin
69f65b9a580246291d20d08cbef9d7c5 board/intel/minnowmax/fsp.bin
894a97d371544ec21de9c3e8e1716c4b board/intel/minnowmax/me.bin
a2588537da387da592a27219d56e9962 board/intel/minnowmax/vga.bin
The ROM image is broken up into these parts:
Offset Description Controlling config
000000 descriptor.bin Hard-coded to 0 in ifdtool
001000 me.bin Set by the descriptor
500000 <spare>
6ef000 Environment CONFIG_ENV_OFFSET
700000 u-boot-dtb.bin CONFIG_SYS_TEXT_BASE
790000 vga.bin CONFIG_VGA_BIOS_ADDR
7c0000 fsp.bin CONFIG_FSP_ADDR
7f8000 <spare> (depends on size of fsp.bin)
7ff800 U-Boot 16-bit boot CONFIG_SYS_X86_START16
Overall ROM image size is controlled by CONFIG_ROM_SIZE.
Note that the debug version of the FSP is bigger in size. If this version
is used, CONFIG_FSP_ADDR needs to be configured to 0xfffb0000 instead of
the default value 0xfffc0000.
Intel Galileo instructions for bare mode:
Only one binary blob is needed for Remote Management Unit (RMU) within Intel
Quark SoC. Not like FSP, U-Boot does not call into the binary. The binary is
needed by the Quark SoC itself.
You can get the binary blob from Quark Board Support Package from Intel website:
* ./QuarkSocPkg/QuarkNorthCluster/Binary/QuarkMicrocode/RMU.bin
Rename the file and put it to the board directory by:
$ cp RMU.bin board/intel/galileo/rmu.bin
Now you can build U-Boot and obtain u-boot.rom
$ make galileo_defconfig
$ make all
QEMU x86 target instructions for bare mode:
To build u-boot.rom for QEMU x86 targets, just simply run
$ make qemu-x86_defconfig
$ make all
Note this default configuration will build a U-Boot for the QEMU x86 i440FX
board. To build a U-Boot against QEMU x86 Q35 board, you can change the build
configuration during the 'make menuconfig' process like below:
Device Tree Control --->
(qemu-x86_q35) Default Device Tree for DT control
Test with coreboot
For testing U-Boot as the coreboot payload, there are things that need be paid
attention to. coreboot supports loading an ELF executable and a 32-bit plain
binary, as well as other supported payloads. With the default configuration,
U-Boot is set up to use a separate Device Tree Blob (dtb). As of today, the
generated u-boot-dtb.bin needs to be packaged by the cbfstool utility (a tool
provided by coreboot) manually as coreboot's 'make menuconfig' does not provide
this capability yet. The command is as follows:
# in the coreboot root directory
$ ./build/util/cbfstool/cbfstool build/coreboot.rom add-flat-binary \
-f u-boot-dtb.bin -n fallback/payload -c lzma -l 0x1110000 -e 0x1110000
Make sure 0x1110000 matches CONFIG_SYS_TEXT_BASE, which is the symbol address
of _x86boot_start (in arch/x86/cpu/start.S).
If you want to use ELF as the coreboot payload, change U-Boot configuration to
To enable video you must enable these options in coreboot:
- Set framebuffer graphics resolution (1280x1024 32k-color (1:5:5))
- Keep VESA framebuffer
And include coreboot_fb.dtsi in your board's device tree source file, like:
/include/ "coreboot_fb.dtsi"
At present it seems that for Minnowboard Max, coreboot does not pass through
the video information correctly (it always says the resolution is 0x0). This
works correctly for link though.
Note: coreboot framebuffer driver does not work on QEMU. The reason is unknown
at this point. Patches are welcome if you figure out anything wrong.
Test with QEMU for bare mode
QEMU is a fancy emulator that can enable us to test U-Boot without access to
a real x86 board. Please make sure your QEMU version is 2.3.0 or above test
U-Boot. To launch QEMU with u-boot.rom, call QEMU as follows:
$ qemu-system-i386 -nographic -bios path/to/u-boot.rom
This will instantiate an emulated x86 board with i440FX and PIIX chipset. QEMU
also supports emulating an x86 board with Q35 and ICH9 based chipset, which is
also supported by U-Boot. To instantiate such a machine, call QEMU with:
$ qemu-system-i386 -nographic -bios path/to/u-boot.rom -M q35
Note by default QEMU instantiated boards only have 128 MiB system memory. But
it is enough to have U-Boot boot and function correctly. You can increase the
system memory by pass '-m' parameter to QEMU if you want more memory:
$ qemu-system-i386 -nographic -bios path/to/u-boot.rom -m 1024
This creates a board with 1 GiB system memory. Currently U-Boot for QEMU only
supports 3 GiB maximum system memory and reserves the last 1 GiB address space
for PCI device memory-mapped I/O and other stuff, so the maximum value of '-m'
would be 3072.
QEMU emulates a graphic card which U-Boot supports. Removing '-nographic' will
show QEMU's VGA console window. Note this will disable QEMU's serial output.
If you want to check both consoles, use '-serial stdio'.
Multicore is also supported by QEMU via '-smp n' where n is the number of cores
to instantiate. Note, the maximum supported CPU number in QEMU is 255.
The fw_cfg interface in QEMU also provides information about kernel data,
initrd, command-line arguments and more. U-Boot supports directly accessing
these informtion from fw_cfg interface, which saves the time of loading them
from hard disk or network again, through emulated devices. To use it , simply
providing them in QEMU command line:
$ qemu-system-i386 -nographic -bios path/to/u-boot.rom -m 1024 -kernel /path/to/bzImage
-append 'root=/dev/ram console=ttyS0' -initrd /path/to/initrd -smp 8
Note: -initrd and -smp are both optional
Then start QEMU, in U-Boot command line use the following U-Boot command to
setup kernel:
=> qfw
qfw - QEMU firmware interface
qfw <command>
- list : print firmware(s) currently loaded
- cpus : print online cpu number
- load <kernel addr> <initrd addr> : load kernel and initrd (if any) and setup for zboot
=> qfw load
loading kernel to address 01000000 size 5d9d30 initrd 04000000 size 1b1ab50
Here the kernel (bzImage) is loaded to 01000000 and initrd is to 04000000. Then,
'zboot' can be used to boot the kernel:
=> zboot 01000000 - 04000000 1b1ab50
CPU Microcode
Modern CPUs usually require a special bit stream called microcode [8] to be
loaded on the processor after power up in order to function properly. U-Boot
has already integrated these as hex dumps in the source tree.
SMP Support
On a multicore system, U-Boot is executed on the bootstrap processor (BSP).
Additional application processors (AP) can be brought up by U-Boot. In order to
have an SMP kernel to discover all of the available processors, U-Boot needs to
prepare configuration tables which contain the multi-CPUs information before
loading the OS kernel. Currently U-Boot supports generating two types of tables
for SMP, called Simple Firmware Interface (SFI) [9] and Multi-Processor (MP)
[10] tables. The writing of these two tables are controlled by two Kconfig
Driver Model
x86 has been converted to use driver model for serial, GPIO, SPI, SPI flash,
keyboard, real-time clock, USB. Video is in progress.
Device Tree
x86 uses device tree to configure the board thus requires CONFIG_OF_CONTROL to
be turned on. Not every device on the board is configured via device tree, but
more and more devices will be added as time goes by. Check out the directory
arch/x86/dts/ for these device tree source files.
Useful Commands
In keeping with the U-Boot philosophy of providing functions to check and
adjust internal settings, there are several x86-specific commands that may be
fsp - Display information about Intel Firmware Support Package (FSP).
This is only available on platforms which use FSP, mostly Atom.
iod - Display I/O memory
iow - Write I/O memory
mtrr - List and set the Memory Type Range Registers (MTRR). These are used to
tell the CPU whether memory is cacheable and if so the cache write
mode to use. U-Boot sets up some reasonable values but you can
adjust then with this command.
Booting Ubuntu
As an example of how to set up your boot flow with U-Boot, here are
instructions for starting Ubuntu from U-Boot. These instructions have been
tested on Minnowboard MAX with a SATA drive but are equally applicable on
other platforms and other media. There are really only four steps and it's a
very simple script, but a more detailed explanation is provided here for
Note: It is possible to set up U-Boot to boot automatically using syslinux.
It could also use the grub.cfg file (/efi/ubuntu/grub.cfg) to obtain the
GUID. If you figure these out, please post patches to this README.
Firstly, you will need Ubuntu installed on an available disk. It should be
possible to make U-Boot start a USB start-up disk but for now let's assume
that you used another boot loader to install Ubuntu.
Use the U-Boot command line to find the UUID of the partition you want to
boot. For example our disk is SCSI device 0:
=> part list scsi 0
Partition Map for SCSI device 0 -- Partition Type: EFI
Part Start LBA End LBA Name
Partition GUID
1 0x00000800 0x001007ff ""
attrs: 0x0000000000000000
type: c12a7328-f81f-11d2-ba4b-00a0c93ec93b
guid: 9d02e8e4-4d59-408f-a9b0-fd497bc9291c
2 0x00100800 0x037d8fff ""
attrs: 0x0000000000000000
type: 0fc63daf-8483-4772-8e79-3d69d8477de4
guid: 965c59ee-1822-4326-90d2-b02446050059
3 0x037d9000 0x03ba27ff ""
attrs: 0x0000000000000000
type: 0657fd6d-a4ab-43c4-84e5-0933c84b4f4f
guid: 2c4282bd-1e82-4bcf-a5ff-51dedbf39f17
This shows that your SCSI disk has three partitions. The really long hex
strings are called Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs). You can look up the
'type' ones here [11]. On this disk the first partition is for EFI and is in
VFAT format (DOS/Windows):
=> fatls scsi 0:1
0 file(s), 1 dir(s)
Partition 2 is 'Linux filesystem data' so that will be our root disk. It is
in ext2 format:
=> ext2ls scsi 0:2
<DIR> 4096 .
<DIR> 4096 ..
<DIR> 16384 lost+found
<DIR> 4096 boot
<DIR> 12288 etc
<DIR> 4096 media
<DIR> 4096 bin
<DIR> 4096 dev
<DIR> 4096 home
<DIR> 4096 lib
<DIR> 4096 lib64
<DIR> 4096 mnt
<DIR> 4096 opt
<DIR> 4096 proc
<DIR> 4096 root
<DIR> 4096 run
<DIR> 12288 sbin
<DIR> 4096 srv
<DIR> 4096 sys
<DIR> 4096 tmp
<DIR> 4096 usr
<DIR> 4096 var
<SYM> 33 initrd.img
<SYM> 30 vmlinuz
<DIR> 4096 cdrom
<SYM> 33 initrd.img.old
and if you look in the /boot directory you will see the kernel:
=> ext2ls scsi 0:2 /boot
<DIR> 4096 .
<DIR> 4096 ..
<DIR> 4096 efi
<DIR> 4096 grub
1162712 abi-3.13.0-32-generic
165611 config-3.13.0-32-generic
176500 memtest86+.bin
178176 memtest86+.elf
178680 memtest86+_multiboot.bin
5798112 vmlinuz-3.13.0-32-generic
165762 config-3.13.0-58-generic
1165129 abi-3.13.0-58-generic
5823136 vmlinuz-3.13.0-58-generic
19215259 initrd.img-3.13.0-58-generic
5825048 vmlinuz-3.13.0-58-generic.efi.signed
28304443 initrd.img-3.13.0-32-generic
The 'vmlinuz' files contain a packaged Linux kernel. The format is a kind of
self-extracting compressed file mixed with some 'setup' configuration data.
Despite its size (uncompressed it is >10MB) this only includes a basic set of
device drivers, enough to boot on most hardware types.
The 'initrd' files contain a RAM disk. This is something that can be loaded
into RAM and will appear to Linux like a disk. Ubuntu uses this to hold lots
of drivers for whatever hardware you might have. It is loaded before the
real root disk is accessed.
The numbers after the end of each file are the version. Here it is Linux
version 3.13. You can find the source code for this in the Linux tree with
the tag v3.13. The '.0' allows for additional Linux releases to fix problems,
but normally this is not needed. The '-58' is used by Ubuntu. Each time they
release a new kernel they increment this number. New Ubuntu versions might
include kernel patches to fix reported bugs. Stable kernels can exist for
some years so this number can get quite high.
The '.efi.signed' kernel is signed for EFI's secure boot. U-Boot has its own
secure boot mechanism - see [12] [13] and cannot read .efi files at present.
To boot Ubuntu from U-Boot the steps are as follows:
1. Set up the boot arguments. Use the GUID for the partition you want to
=> setenv bootargs root=/dev/disk/by-partuuid/965c59ee-1822-4326-90d2-b02446050059 ro
Here root= tells Linux the location of its root disk. The disk is specified
by its GUID, using '/dev/disk/by-partuuid/', a Linux path to a 'directory'
containing all the GUIDs Linux has found. When it starts up, there will be a
file in that directory with this name in it. It is also possible to use a
device name here, see later.
2. Load the kernel. Since it is an ext2/4 filesystem we can do:
=> ext2load scsi 0:2 03000000 /boot/vmlinuz-3.13.0-58-generic
The address 30000000 is arbitrary, but there seem to be problems with using
small addresses (sometimes Linux cannot find the ramdisk). This is 48MB into
the start of RAM (which is at 0 on x86).
3. Load the ramdisk (to 64MB):
=> ext2load scsi 0:2 04000000 /boot/initrd.img-3.13.0-58-generic
4. Start up the kernel. We need to know the size of the ramdisk, but can use
a variable for that. U-Boot sets 'filesize' to the size of the last file it
=> zboot 03000000 0 04000000 ${filesize}
Type 'help zboot' if you want to see what the arguments are. U-Boot on x86 is
quite verbose when it boots a kernel. You should see these messages from
Valid Boot Flag
Setup Size = 0x00004400
Magic signature found
Using boot protocol version 2.0c
Linux kernel version 3.13.0-58-generic (buildd@allspice) #97-Ubuntu SMP Wed Jul 8 02:56:15 UTC 2015
Building boot_params at 0x00090000
Loading bzImage at address 100000 (5805728 bytes)
Magic signature found
Initial RAM disk at linear address 0x04000000, size 19215259 bytes
Kernel command line: "root=/dev/disk/by-partuuid/965c59ee-1822-4326-90d2-b02446050059 ro"
Starting kernel ...
U-Boot prints out some bootstage timing. This is more useful if you put the
above commands into a script since then it will be faster.
Timer summary in microseconds:
Mark Elapsed Stage
0 0 reset
241,535 241,535 board_init_r
2,421,611 2,180,076 id=64
2,421,790 179 id=65
2,428,215 6,425 main_loop
48,860,584 46,432,369 start_kernel
Accumulated time:
240,329 ahci
1,422,704 vesa display
Now the kernel actually starts: (if you want to examine kernel boot up message
on the serial console, append "console=ttyS0,115200" to the kernel command line)
[ 0.000000] Initializing cgroup subsys cpuset
[ 0.000000] Initializing cgroup subsys cpu
[ 0.000000] Initializing cgroup subsys cpuacct
[ 0.000000] Linux version 3.13.0-58-generic (buildd@allspice) (gcc version 4.8.2 (Ubuntu 4.8.2-19ubuntu1) ) #97-Ubuntu SMP Wed Jul 8 02:56:15 UTC 2015 (Ubuntu 3.13.0-58.97-generic 3.13.11-ckt22)
[ 0.000000] Command line: root=/dev/disk/by-partuuid/965c59ee-1822-4326-90d2-b02446050059 ro console=ttyS0,115200
It continues for a long time. Along the way you will see it pick up your
[ 0.000000] RAMDISK: [mem 0x04000000-0x05253fff]
[ 0.788540] Trying to unpack rootfs image as initramfs...
[ 1.540111] Freeing initrd memory: 18768K (ffff880004000000 - ffff880005254000)
Later it actually starts using it:
Begin: Running /scripts/local-premount ... done.
You should also see your boot disk turn up:
[ 4.357243] scsi 1:0:0:0: Direct-Access ATA ADATA SP310 5.2 PQ: 0 ANSI: 5
[ 4.366860] sd 1:0:0:0: [sda] 62533296 512-byte logical blocks: (32.0 GB/29.8 GiB)
[ 4.375677] sd 1:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg0 type 0
[ 4.381859] sd 1:0:0:0: [sda] Write Protect is off
[ 4.387452] sd 1:0:0:0: [sda] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[ 4.399535] sda: sda1 sda2 sda3
Linux has found the three partitions (sda1-3). Mercifully it doesn't print out
the GUIDs. In step 1 above we could have used:
setenv bootargs root=/dev/sda2 ro
instead of the GUID. However if you add another drive to your board the
numbering may change whereas the GUIDs will not. So if your boot partition
becomes sdb2, it will still boot. For embedded systems where you just want to
boot the first disk, you have that option.
The last thing you will see on the console is mention of plymouth (which
displays the Ubuntu start-up screen) and a lot of 'Starting' messages:
* Starting Mount filesystems on boot [ OK ]
After a pause you should see a login screen on your display and you are done.
If you want to put this in a script you can use something like this:
setenv bootargs root=UUID=b2aaf743-0418-4d90-94cc-3e6108d7d968 ro
setenv boot zboot 03000000 0 04000000 \${filesize}
setenv bootcmd "ext2load scsi 0:2 03000000 /boot/vmlinuz-3.13.0-58-generic; ext2load scsi 0:2 04000000 /boot/initrd.img-3.13.0-58-generic; run boot"
The \ is to tell the shell not to evaluate ${filesize} as part of the setenv
You can also bake this behaviour into your build by hard-coding the
environment variables if you add this to minnowmax.h:
"root=/dev/sda2 ro"
"ext2load scsi 0:2 03000000 /boot/vmlinuz-3.13.0-58-generic; " \
"ext2load scsi 0:2 04000000 /boot/initrd.img-3.13.0-58-generic; " \
"run boot"
#define CONFIG_EXTRA_ENV_SETTINGS "boot=zboot 03000000 0 04000000 ${filesize}"
Test with SeaBIOS
SeaBIOS [14] is an open source implementation of a 16-bit x86 BIOS. It can run
in an emulator or natively on x86 hardware with the use of U-Boot. With its
help, we can boot some OSes that require 16-bit BIOS services like Windows/DOS.
As U-Boot, we have to manually create a table where SeaBIOS gets various system
information (eg: E820) from. The table unfortunately has to follow the coreboot
table format as SeaBIOS currently supports booting as a coreboot payload.
To support loading SeaBIOS, U-Boot should be built with CONFIG_SEABIOS on.
Booting SeaBIOS is done via U-Boot's bootelf command, like below:
=> tftp bios.bin.elf;bootelf
Using e1000#0 device
TFTP from server; our IP address is
Bytes transferred = 122124 (1dd0c hex)
## Starting application at 0x000ff06e ...
SeaBIOS (version rel-1.9.0)
bios.bin.elf is the SeaBIOS image built from SeaBIOS source tree.
Make sure it is built as follows:
$ make menuconfig
Inside the "General Features" menu, select "Build for coreboot" as the
"Build Target". Inside the "Debugging" menu, turn on "Serial port debugging"
so that we can see something as soon as SeaBIOS boots. Leave other options
as in their default state. Then,
$ make
Total size: 121888 Fixed: 66496 Free: 9184 (used 93.0% of 128KiB rom)
Creating out/bios.bin.elf
Currently this is tested on QEMU x86 target with U-Boot chain-loading SeaBIOS
to install/boot a Windows XP OS (below for example command to install Windows).
# Create a 10G disk.img as the virtual hard disk
$ qemu-img create -f qcow2 disk.img 10G
# Install a Windows XP OS from an ISO image 'winxp.iso'
$ qemu-system-i386 -serial stdio -bios u-boot.rom -hda disk.img -cdrom winxp.iso -smp 2 -m 512
# Boot a Windows XP OS installed on the virutal hard disk
$ qemu-system-i386 -serial stdio -bios u-boot.rom -hda disk.img -smp 2 -m 512
This is also tested on Intel Crown Bay board with a PCIe graphics card, booting
SeaBIOS then chain-loading a GRUB on a USB drive, then Linux kernel finally.
If you are using Intel Integrated Graphics Device (IGD) as the primary display
device on your board, SeaBIOS needs to be patched manually to get its VGA ROM
loaded and run by SeaBIOS. SeaBIOS locates VGA ROM via the PCI expansion ROM
register, but IGD device does not have its VGA ROM mapped by this register.
Its VGA ROM is packaged as part of u-boot.rom at a configurable flash address
which is unknown to SeaBIOS. An example patch is needed for SeaBIOS below:
diff --git a/src/optionroms.c b/src/optionroms.c
index 65f7fe0..c7b6f5e 100644
--- a/src/optionroms.c
+++ b/src/optionroms.c
@@ -324,6 +324,8 @@ init_pcirom(struct pci_device *pci, int isvga, u64 *sources)
rom = deploy_romfile(file);
else if (RunPCIroms > 1 || (RunPCIroms == 1 && isvga))
rom = map_pcirom(pci);
+ if (pci->bdf == pci_to_bdf(0, 2, 0))
+ rom = (struct rom_header *)0xfff90000;
if (! rom)
// No ROM present.
Note: the patch above expects IGD device is at PCI b.d.f 0.2.0 and its VGA ROM
is at 0xfff90000 which corresponds to CONFIG_VGA_BIOS_ADDR on Minnowboard MAX.
Change these two accordingly if this is not the case on your board.
Development Flow
These notes are for those who want to port U-Boot to a new x86 platform.
Since x86 CPUs boot from SPI flash, a SPI flash emulator is a good investment.
The Dediprog em100 can be used on Linux. The em100 tool is available here:
On Minnowboard Max the following command line can be used:
sudo em100 -s -p LOW -d u-boot.rom -c W25Q64DW -r
A suitable clip for connecting over the SPI flash chip is here:
This allows you to override the SPI flash contents for development purposes.
Typically you can write to the em100 in around 1200ms, considerably faster
than programming the real flash device each time. The only important
limitation of the em100 is that it only supports SPI bus speeds up to 20MHz.
This means that images must be set to boot with that speed. This is an
Intel-specific feature - e.g. tools/ifttool has an option to set the SPI
speed in the SPI descriptor region.
If your chip/board uses an Intel Firmware Support Package (FSP) it is fairly
easy to fit it in. You can follow the Minnowboard Max implementation, for
example. Hopefully you will just need to create new files similar to those
in arch/x86/cpu/baytrail which provide Bay Trail support.
If you are not using an FSP you have more freedom and more responsibility.
The ivybridge support works this way, although it still uses a ROM for
graphics and still has binary blobs containing Intel code. You should aim to
support all important peripherals on your platform including video and storage.
Use the device tree for configuration where possible.
For the microcode you can create a suitable device tree file using the
microcode tool:
./tools/microcode-tool -d microcode.dat -m <model> create
or if you only have header files and not the full Intel microcode.dat database:
./tools/microcode-tool -H BAY_TRAIL_FSP_KIT/Microcode/M0130673322.h \
-H BAY_TRAIL_FSP_KIT/Microcode/M0130679901.h \
-m all create
These are written to arch/x86/dts/microcode/ by default.
Note that it is possible to just add the micrcode for your CPU if you know its
model. U-Boot prints this information when it starts
CPU: x86_64, vendor Intel, device 30673h
so here we can use the M0130673322 file.
If you platform can display POST codes on two little 7-segment displays on
the board, then you can use post_code() calls from C or assembler to monitor
boot progress. This can be good for debugging.
If not, you can try to get serial working as early as possible. The early
debug serial port may be useful here. See setup_internal_uart() for an example.
During the U-Boot porting, one of the important steps is to write correct PIRQ
routing information in the board device tree. Without it, device drivers in the
Linux kernel won't function correctly due to interrupt is not working. Please
refer to U-Boot doc [15] for the device tree bindings of Intel interrupt router.
Here we have more details on the intel,pirq-routing property below.
intel,pirq-routing = <
As you see each entry has 3 cells. For the first one, we need describe all pci
devices mounted on the board. For SoC devices, normally there is a chapter on
the chipset datasheet which lists all the available PCI devices. For example on
Bay Trail, this is chapter 4.3 (PCI configuration space). For the second one, we
can get the interrupt pin either from datasheet or hardware via U-Boot shell.
The reliable source is the hardware as sometimes chipset datasheet is not 100%
up-to-date. Type 'pci header' plus the device's pci bus/device/function number
from U-Boot shell below.
=> pci header 0.1e.1
vendor ID = 0x8086
device ID = 0x0f08
interrupt line = 0x09
interrupt pin = 0x04
It shows this PCI device is using INTD pin as it reports 4 in the interrupt pin
register. Repeat this until you get interrupt pins for all the devices. The last
cell is the PIRQ line which a particular interrupt pin is mapped to. On Intel
chipset, the power-up default mapping is INTA/B/C/D maps to PIRQA/B/C/D. This
can be changed by registers in LPC bridge. So far Intel FSP does not touch those
registers so we can write down the PIRQ according to the default mapping rule.
Once we get the PIRQ routing information in the device tree, the interrupt
allocation and assignment will be done by U-Boot automatically. Now you can
enable CONFIG_GENERATE_PIRQ_TABLE for testing Linux kernel using i8259 PIC and
CONFIG_GENERATE_MP_TABLE for testing Linux kernel using local APIC and I/O APIC.
This script might be useful. If you feed it the output of 'pci long' from
U-Boot then it will generate a device tree fragment with the interrupt
configuration for each device (note it needs gawk 4.0.0):
$ cat console_output |awk '/PCI/ {device=$4} /interrupt line/ {line=$4} \
/interrupt pin/ {pin = $4; if (pin != "0x00" && pin != "0xff") \
{patsplit(device, bdf, "[0-9a-f]+"); \
printf "PCI_BDF(%d, %d, %d) INT%c PIRQ%c\n", strtonum("0x" bdf[1]), \
strtonum("0x" bdf[2]), bdf[3], strtonum(pin) + 64, 64 + strtonum(pin)}}'
Example output:
Porting Hints
Quark-specific considerations:
To port U-Boot to other boards based on the Intel Quark SoC, a few things need
to be taken care of. The first important part is the Memory Reference Code (MRC)
parameters. Quark MRC supports memory-down configuration only. All these MRC
parameters are supplied via the board device tree. To get started, first copy
the MRC section of arch/x86/dts/galileo.dts to your board's device tree, then
change these values by consulting board manuals or your hardware vendor.
Available MRC parameter values are listed in include/dt-bindings/mrc/quark.h.
The other tricky part is with PCIe. Quark SoC integrates two PCIe root ports,
but by default they are held in reset after power on. In U-Boot, PCIe
initialization is properly handled as per Quark's firmware writer guide.
In your board support codes, you need provide two routines to aid PCIe
initialization, which are board_assert_perst() and board_deassert_perst().
The two routines need implement a board-specific mechanism to assert/deassert
PCIe PERST# pin. Care must be taken that in those routines that any APIs that
may trigger PCI enumeration process are strictly forbidden, as any access to
PCIe root port's configuration registers will cause system hang while it is
held in reset. For more details, check how they are implemented by the Intel
Galileo board support codes in board/intel/galileo/galileo.c.
See scripts/coreboot.sed which can assist with porting coreboot code into
U-Boot drivers. It will not resolve all build errors, but will perform common
transformations. Remember to add attribution to coreboot for new files added
to U-Boot. This should go at the top of each file and list the coreboot
filename where the code originated.
Debugging ACPI issues with Windows:
Windows might cache system information and only detect ACPI changes if you
modify the ACPI table versions. So tweak them liberally when debugging ACPI
issues with Windows.
ACPI Support Status
Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) [16] aims to establish
industry-standard interfaces enabling OS-directed configuration, power
management, and thermal management of mobile, desktop, and server platforms.
Linux can boot without ACPI with "acpi=off" command line parameter, but
with ACPI the kernel gains the capabilities to handle power management.
For Windows, ACPI is a must-have firmware feature since Windows Vista.
CONFIG_GENERATE_ACPI_TABLE is the config option to turn on ACPI support in
U-Boot. This requires Intel ACPI compiler to be installed on your host to
compile ACPI DSDT table written in ASL format to AML format. You can get
the compiler via "apt-get install iasl" if you are on Ubuntu or download
the source from [17] to compile one by yourself.
Current ACPI support in U-Boot is not complete. More features will be added
in the future. The status as of today is:
* Support generating RSDT, XSDT, FACS, FADT, MADT, MCFG tables.
* Support one static DSDT table only, compiled by Intel ACPI compiler.
* Support S0/S5, reboot and shutdown from OS.
* Support booting a pre-installed Ubuntu distribution via 'zboot' command.
* Support installing and booting Ubuntu 14.04 (or above) from U-Boot with
the help of SeaBIOS using legacy interface (non-UEFI mode).
* Support installing and booting Windows 8.1/10 from U-Boot with the help
of SeaBIOS using legacy interface (non-UEFI mode).
* Support ACPI interrupts with SCI only.
Features not supported so far (to make it a complete ACPI solution):
* S3 (Suspend to RAM), S4 (Suspend to Disk).
Features that are optional:
* Dynamic AML bytecodes insertion at run-time. We may need this to support
SSDT table generation and DSDT fix up.
* SMI support. Since U-Boot is a modern bootloader, we don't want to bring
those legacy stuff into U-Boot. ACPI spec allows a system that does not
support SMI (a legacy-free system).
ACPI was initially enabled on BayTrail based boards. Testing was done by booting
a pre-installed Ubuntu 14.04 from a SATA drive. Installing Ubuntu 14.04 and
Windows 8.1/10 to a SATA drive and booting from there is also tested. Most
devices seem to work correctly and the board can respond a reboot/shutdown
command from the OS.
For other platform boards, ACPI support status can be checked by examining their
board defconfig files to see if CONFIG_GENERATE_ACPI_TABLE is set to y.
EFI Support
U-Boot supports booting as a 32-bit or 64-bit EFI payload, e.g. with UEFI.
This is enabled with CONFIG_EFI_STUB. U-Boot can also run as an EFI
application, with CONFIG_EFI_APP. The CONFIG_EFI_LOADER option, where U-Booot
provides an EFI environment to the kernel (i.e. replaces UEFI completely but
provides the same EFI run-time services) is not currently supported on x86.
See README.efi for details of EFI support in U-Boot.
64-bit Support
U-Boot supports booting a 64-bit kernel directly and is able to change to
64-bit mode to do so. It also supports (with CONFIG_EFI_STUB) booting from
both 32-bit and 64-bit UEFI. However, U-Boot itself is currently always built
in 32-bit mode. Some access to the full memory range is provided with
The development work to make U-Boot itself run in 64-bit mode has not yet
been attempted. The best approach would likely be to build a 32-bit SPL
image for U-Boot, with CONFIG_SPL_BUILD. This could then handle the early CPU
init in 16-bit and 32-bit mode, running the FSP and any other binaries that
are needed. Then it could change to 64-bit model and jump to U-Boot proper.
Given U-Boot's extensive 64-bit support this has not been a high priority,
but it would be a nice addition.
- Audio
- Chrome OS verified boot
- Building U-Boot to run in 64-bit mode
[15] doc/device-tree-bindings/misc/intel,irq-router.txt