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Breaking the Chains: Using LinuxBIOS to Liberate Embedded X86 Processors

Jordan H. Crouse (jordan.crouse@amd.com)

While x86 processors are an attractive option for embedded designs, many developers avoid them because x86 based systems remain dependent on a legacy BIOS ROM to set up the system. LinuxBIOS is an open source solution that replaces the proprietary BIOS ROMs with a light weight loader. LinuxBIOS frees the developer from complex CPU and chipset initialization and allows a variety of payloads to be loaded, including the Linux kernel itself.

This presentation reviews the journey of the AMD Geode processors and chipset as they were integrated into LinuxBIOS to become the center point of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. We also discuss how embedded developers can take advantage of LinuxBIOS for their own x86 based projects.