Linux Bios update?

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Linux Bios update?

Postby Pythzor on Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:02 am

This new computer I have is pretty nifty. The jury is still out on the boot load of pre-installed software, apps, and de fecato advertisements, though. In some ways, it's a stark opposite of the freedom I've come to appreciate in Linux.

One of the pre-installed apps is nVidia Panel. I'd not heard of it before. Having navigated to nVidia forums and asked questions, I've been advised that since I plan on installing Linux, I should update my BIOS to support Linux. It's the first I've heard of that kind of proprietary BIOS update -- but tickled to here it.

What does Linux Mint forums think of that?

BIOS for Linux eMachines P01.B4L1013.6 KB12/05/2011

Advise and suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you.
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Re: Linux Bios update?

Postby tdockery97 on Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:15 am

In my experience that is not necessarily a good idea. Before you follow that advice, download, burn to disk or usb stick, and try out a live version of one of the many Linux distributions. You will find that it will usually run fine without updating your computer's BIOS.

The reason I say this is that after two years of running Linux Mint without problems, I followed the occasional recommendations I read about updating my computer's BIOS. It turned out to be a bad move. Prior to that, my laptop always suspended and resumed normally. Now, no matter what solutions I try it always crashes while trying to resume. I'm now having to wait for another BIOS update to become available from HP before I can see if I can get resume from suspend to work again.
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Re: Linux Bios update?

Postby Pythzor on Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:16 pm

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1921819, #3:

[QUOTE=del_diablo;11671137]Well, a BIOS update tends to be nice either way. I guess the reason they want you to update is because the first revision was shipped with hacks instead of working solutions at part of stuff like ACPI.[/QUOTE]
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Re: Linux Bios update?

Postby DrHu on Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:01 pm

Pythzor wrote:I've been advised that since I plan on installing Linux, I should update my BIOS to support Linux. It's the first I've heard of that kind of proprietary BIOS update -- but tickled to here it.

I have updated (flashed computer BIOS chips) often enough that I don't consider it much of a problem, just remember that if it does cause a problem you should use the saved BIOS data, that most BIOS utilities provide as a first step, eg Award, ATI etc..

There is no particular Linux BIOS except for ..
http://www.coreboot.org/Welcome_to_coreboot
--previous known as linuxbios, and mainy used for either thin clients or fast server boots
http://www.coreboot.org/Supported_Motherboards

The normal BIOS update (re-flash your bios) is provided by the BIOS manufacturer, and the item you have to check is: does it fix a mainboard (motherboard) problem I have or enhance disk IO or some other feature you might consider important
--and if its doesn't, then other than being as up-to-date as possible, you don't need it..

Pythzor wrote:BIOS for Linux eMachines P01.B4L1013.6 KB12/05/2011

E machines, apart from low cost is not a brand I would particularly recommend: prefer instead to use Asus or Gigabyte, more of a name brand product line; possibly better support..
http://www.pclinuxos.com/forum/index.php?topic=94071.0
--forum users on e-machines qualities or lack thereof..
http://www.linux-on-laptops.com/emachines.html
    BIOS is still from BIOS manufacture, whatever the vender has been saying to you just seems incorrect..
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Re: Linux Bios update?

Postby Pythzor on Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:22 pm

I did have a primary computer (Dell Dimension 8300 Pent4, 3 Ghz, 1 GiB, nVidia 5200) and a spare (Gateway E-4000 Pent4; 1.8 Ghz; 1 GiB; nVidia 5500). If the Dell hadn't died 6 weeks ago, I suppose I'd still be using it. For about six months in 2010, I'd had exclusive use a an Athon 64 X2 4000+. So when the Dell died I bought a refurbished OptiPlex GX740 4400+desktop with AMD Athlon 64 X2 Processor, doing so based upon my memory of the machine I'd had use of in 2010.

But I found it's performance lacking; I had to flash the bios (viewtopic.php?f=49&t=92219) so that it would have hardware virtualization enabled [which was not something I'd wanted to have to do because of horror stories I've read in Android forums of folks bricking their phones (but it worked out okay thanks to clear directions and a download that could run from Windows Explorer)]. And there was another problems, so I took it back and got this one. And I consider this one to be a much better machine (at least to my tastes).

I have of course googled this model of eMachines and have noted that overall, there seems to be more dissatisfied owners/former owners of this model than there are satisfied ones, and that going by what I've read I could expect some problem (expecially, perhaps, with the power supply) somewhere down the road. So I've prayed about it; and I'm comfortable with it.

I've been to http://www.coreboot.org/Supported_Motherboards and do not see my computer's motherboad supported, neither the chip set nor southbridge:
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I do note, however, Coreboot support for AMD Fam10h Northbridges, but (as I'm out of my league here) I don't know how much of a motherboard needs to be Coreboot compatable to effectively benefit from Coreboot. I did I run across an informative, 66-minute, video in the Linux Mint Software Portage of Coreboot principals who explain what Coreboot is and why it was needed: http://linuxmintlinux.cyacomputerblog.c ... -firmware/
Posted on February 07, 2011 by learnlinux

Although I did download grub-coreboot and grub-coreboot-bin from the Linux Mint Software Portal for Linux Mint 12, it looks like didn't have to do that because I see it and other coreboot packages already in synaptic package manager on LMDE and Oneiric, and other coreboot packages in Lisa's synaptic package manager.

On LMDE (which I'm using presently), before I installed grub-coreboot 1.99-11, grub-coreboot-bin 1.99-11 and grub-linuxbios 1.99-11, boot time beginning when I selected this os from the grub menu until the login screen appeared was c. 20 seconds. After installing those packages, it's c. 14 seconds. (please note those times are only based upon casual observation).

After spending some time to no avail trying to get Cpu-G running on Ubuntu – its not happening so far (for me), I installed Nvramtool 0.0+3669-2.1 along with the other Coreboot packages, but I passed on Superiotool because it looks like an app that will make it easier for me accidentally break something. I had to reboot into Windows 7 Home Premium to use Cpu-z for the information in the screenshot. I honestly don't know whether or not cpu-z would have worked system-wide from a Virtualbox guest Windows on Ubuntu (as host). I suppose I could stop right here and see . . . No; cpu-z on Windows 7 Ultimate (guest) on Ubuntu 11.10 (host) only showed the virtual machine specs – at least as I have it set.
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Capture5.PNG
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Since AMD announced last May that all of its processors will support Coreboot beginning with Llano (and having supported Coreboot all along since 1999), I can see nVidia offering some alternative Linux BIOS options for its mainboards not supported by Coreboot (perhaps some Openboot, Openfirmware, or U-boot implementations). But thus far, I haven't identified the origin or content of BIOS for Linux eMachines P01.B4L1013.6 KB12/05/2011.

It looks to me as if my computer has a nVidia motherboard and on the nVidia website, nVidia offers BIOS updates for that motherboard that are branded “eMachines.” After also noting Nvidia's stated commitment to Linux, (e.g. http://www.zotac.com/index.php?option=c ... 18&lang=em) “Why isn't the NVIDIA drivers open source (sic)."

I'd be comfortable trying it out; and my computer does have “restore default settings” options in the BIOS. And the eMachines recovery app (preinstalled on sda2) is said to restore the machine to delivery settings provided that all hardware is intact. Of course, I don't know if either actually work (and I'm not wanting to undo any changes I've made).

As it turns out, I have not been able to execute the directions given in the P01.B4L1013.6 README. And apparently I'm not only one; at some point I'll post a thread at Windows 7 IT Pro Forums, where a couple of similar problems are already discussed at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/For ... 7fda88b694. But it will be just academic because coreboot does just fine on this computer and on the Oses on which I have it installed.

Thank you for all the responses; it's appreciated.

Cheers
AMD Athlon II X2 220 Processor × 2 , 2.8 GHz, 6 GB, Nvidia PNY 210, 1 TB hdd: Windows 7; Ubuntu 13.10; Linux Mint 16 Petra. /// Gateway E4000, Intel Pentium 4, 1.8 Ghz; 1.0 GB RAM, Geforce 5500; 32 bit; Windows 7, PCLinuxOS 201404 Mate Desktop.
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Re: Linux Bios update?

Postby antikythera on Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:28 am

NVIDIA don't actually manufacture mainboards themselves. It is most likely an OEM board from the likes of Asustek or Foxcon who mass produce mainboards for other manufacturers to build PCs with. My advice echos that of other users in this thread. Leave the BIOS alone it shouldn't be necessary to flash it and could lead to unwanted problems if it is not designed for your exact mainboard. There are different revisions of boards as well as BIOS so it really is not worth the risk.
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Re: Linux Bios update?

Postby AlbertP on Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:18 pm

The first screenshot shows you're using an eMachines computer. This basically means you're stuck with the BIOSes from the eMachines website.
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