Installing Coreboot on a Thinkpad T430s | Part 2

In the first part we already replaced the bios chip and extracted the firmware. If you have’nt done this already, you really should go back and do it. Also we flashed the original firmware to our new chip and verified the chip is working correctly.

In this part we will extract the proprietary blobs we need to make our hardware work and shrink Intel ME as well as compile a working coreboot install.

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Installing Coreboot on a Thinkpad T430s | Part 1

Why would you flash Coreboot?

There are several reasons why you should consider doing this. The BIOS¹ on those Laptops is quite restrictive. You’re limited to 3 rather old wifi card models, which only support 802.11n and are rather slow by today’s standards. If you try a non-whitelisted card it will refuse to boot until you remove the card. Also, there are no updates released by Lenovo to mitigate several exploits to the Intel ME. Another good point would be that you don’t know what the BIOS is doing in the background, it could send data home. Coreboot replaces the bios and therefore solves most of these issues. There is a python script to solve the Intel ME problem.

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Savely reboot a frozen Linux System – SysRq

Until today, I thought the SysRq-Key (like the Scroll Lock Key) is one of the useless keys on a modern keyboard. Today I got asked if modern operating systems handle the startup triggered by a reboot different from a cold boot.

While I didn’t find an answer to the initial question (Wikipedia to the rescue) I stumbled upon this.

Basically, the Linux kernel is permanently waiting for special key events. Whenever you press Alt + SysRq + B, your machine will immediately reboot. This is nice to know, but not really “save” as it doesn’t gracefully stop the running programs and also doesn’t finish writing to disk. So we have to tell the Kernel to do exactly this. Read More

Hello world!

The new Blog

As we’re already 2 and a half months into 2018, I felt the need to finally set up my blog. I’m not exactly sure why I chose today, possibly I’m just in desperate need of another project which enables me to procrastinate even more towards my exams… But maybe I’m just some mad student who pulled an allnighter and decided it’s finally time to start blogging and therefore will lose interest pretty quickly. Only the next few months will tell. Read More