The open-source software project Corbut hit a major milestone this week when Linux developers at 3mdeb successfully installed it on an Alder Lake motherboard.
According to PC gamers, programmers were able to install Coreboot on an MSI Z690 Alder Lake motherboard. Coreboot is an open source BIOS, designed to boot in one second while providing security and flexibility. The idea is that instead of using what your motherboard vendor has cooked, you can run an open source BIOS instead. Theoretically this will give you more options on how you run your PC.
One of the best features of Coreboot is that you can’t brick your PC by updating it. The developers of Coreboot say that updating its firmware is as risky as updating an app on your phone. It even gives you the ability to load a custom JPEG for the boot-up splash screen.
The good news is that they were able to run it on new hardware. Previously, this was not possible, so this is a big breakthrough.
The bad news is: they rarely run Ubuntu Linux on it. According to Piotr Król, CEO of 3mdeb, the Ubuntu installation is broken, and not all devices are working properly. As an example he says they currently have no way of making words work. One of the main problems is that they don’t have enough people to test things. Also, none of the big motherboard manufacturers want to share their schematics with them. Kroll says the company is currently focusing on Intel’s platform because it offers a better open source ecosystem. AMD has so far refused to be involved.
While this is certainly a fancy idea that we can easily replace the UEFI of our system with an open source version, the reality is that this will probably never happen. Every company from Asus to Gigabyte, ASRock and others sees UEFI as an important feature for their systems. Since they all offer the same design and hardware support, UEFI and aesthetics often set them apart. If you could put a custom UEFI on a motherboard, there would be little reason to choose one board over another, considering the hardware features to be similar.
Although motherboard vendors may eventually see the benefits of offering an “open source compatible” motherboard, we suspect they will relinquish that control. It can create support tickets without mentioning Pandora’s box opening.