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Adventures in OpenPower Firmware

Project: skiboot, petitboot, op-build, touching on hostboot and OCC

In mid 2014, IBM released the first POWER8 based systems with the new Free and Open Source OPAL
firmware. Since then, several members of the OpenPower foundation have produced
(or are currently producing) machines based on the POWER8 processor with
the OPAL firmware.

This talk will cover the POWER8 chip with an open source firmware stack and how it all fits together.

We will walk through all of the firmware components and what they do,
including the boot sequence from power being applied up to booting an
operating system.

We'll delve into:
- the time before you have RAM
- the time before you have thermal management
- the time before you have PCI
- runtime processor diagnostics and repair
- the bootloader (and extending it)
- building and flashing your own firmware
- using a simulator instead
- the firmware interface that Linux talks to
- device tree and OPAL calls
- fun in firmware QA and testing

Stewart Smith

Stewart currently works for IBM in the Linux Technology Center on OpenPower firmware maintaining the skiboot project. He also touches the linux kernel, PowerKVM and a few other things, some of them even in userspace.

In previous lives he worked for Percona as Director of Server Development where he oversaw development of many of Percona’s software products. He comes from many years experience in databases and free and open source software development. He’s often found hacking on random open source code, taking photos, running, brewing beer and cycling (yes, all at the same time).


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