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AMD Gizmo SBC gains open source bootloader

Oct 28, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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Sage Electronic Engineering, has released a free board support package for AMD’s community-backed Gizmo SBC equipped with the open source, Coreboot-based SageBIOS bootloader. SageBIOS BSP for Gizmo further supports the $189, G-Series-based Gizmo board with “free payloads and drivers to enable peripherals,” says the company.

Sage Electronic Engineering is AMD’s embedded hardware partner behind GizmoSphere.org, the open source community site that released the Linux-ready Gizmo single board computer (SBC) in August. At launch, the project was criticized for not being as open source as its main community-backed x86 rival: Intel’s Minnowboard. Shortly afterward, GizmoSphere.org released full schematics for the Gizmo, and now it is offering a free, open source SageBIOS Coreboot bootloader.

SageBIOS BSP for Gizmo “is the final piece of open source intellectual property (IP) that makes Gizmo the first x86 development board to be fully open source, end-to-end: hardware, software and now bootloader,” says Sage.




Several views of the AMD-based Gizmo SBC
(click images to enlarge)

 

By contrast, the Intel Atom-based Minnowboard ships with UEFI firmware supplied by the Yocto Project. The UEFI bootloader is “an open firmware environment,” but “does require a couple of binary blobs for the platform initialization code,” according to a Google Groups post back in August by Scott Garman, Embedded Linux Engineer, Yocto Project, at the Intel Open Source Technology Center. Garman added that “the remainder” of the bootloader implementation “should be open and rebuildable.”

Sage’s Gizmo-optimized bootloader implementation is based on the open source Coreboot, as well as earlier SageBIOS BSPs designed for the AMD Embedded G-Series SoCs. Deciso uses a similar SageBIOS BSP for its G-Series-based Netboard A10 networking appliance.

SageBIOS BSP for Gizmo is available free with the basic $189 version of the Gizmo, in addition to the $199 Gizmo Development Kit. The latter adds the Gizmo Explorer expansion board and a Sage SmartProbe for debugging, as well as a keypad and cables. Also included in the Gizmo Development Kit is a Linux BSP that also supports Android 4.2, and a flash card full of development tools.

SageBIOS BSP for Gizmo code is royalty-free, with no recurring or per unit costs, says the company. However, it is available in a download link valid for only 30 days. The zipped tar file contains all source files except for the video BIOS “which is binary only due to licensing restrictions from AMD,” says Sage. The company also offers a 30-day trial subscription for its Sage EDK, an integrated development environment (IDE) for debug and development.

The 4.0 x 4.0-inch, Gizmo SBC is equipped with a dual-core, 1GHz G-Series G-T40E processor, which offers a separate Radeon HD6250 GPU and an AMD A55E I/O controller hub. Higher-end T44R and T56N G-Series processors are available at extra cost. The board’s interface functions include VGA and Display Port video, audio in/out, SATA, USB, GPIO, analog in/out, PCIe, SPI, I2C, and JTAG.

SageBIOS BSP for Gizmo is available now for free with all Gizmo boards. More information may be found at the SageBIOS BSP for Gizmo sign-up page, as well as at GizmoSphere.org and SemiconductorStore.com’s Gizmo online store page. Further details on the Gizmo SBC are available in our earlier coverage.
 

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