System76 principal engineer Jeremy Soller who is also known for his work on the Rust-written Redox OS has initiated the effort on porting Coreboot to AMD Matisse and Renoir platforms.
What is Coreboot
Coreboot is an open source replacement for your BIOS / UEFI. Coreboot has a strong focus on boot speed, security and flexibility. It is designed to boot your operating system as fast as possible without any compromise to security, with no back doors.
It was originally designed for large super-computers with thousands of nodes, but it will run on your desktop, headless internet server, laptop, tablet or your favorite IoT device.
Coreboot to AMD Matisse and Renoir platforms
System76 engineer Jeremy Soller wrote:
“I have seen the light of the great @LisaSu. Today begins my journey to port coreboot to Matisse and Renoir. See you on the other side!”
It essentially would allow replacing AMD semi proprietary PSP (Platform Security Processor, responsible for system and security management) with an open source alternative (at least outside the boot process).
This should enable to use AMD Zen CPUs without any proprietary 3rd party closed source components. Eliminating the possibility of any accusation of backdoors and provide even more audit-ability.
Right now, however, there is no variant of Coreboot for AMD’s Matisse and Renoir chipsets. In other words what we know as Ryzen 3000 and Ryzen 4000 processors, respectively. That’s what makes Jeremy Soller’s upcoming work so important.
Intel similar management components are still closed source. This will provide a significant competitive advantage to AMD over Intel for security conscious applications.
AMD can’t release the source of the PSP, but an open source replacement is possible.
The work is founded by System 76, but AMD provided the necessary source code and documentation.