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Revision as of 03:04, 7 February 2016 by Matt Devo (talk | contribs) (add detail for different types of firmware updates)

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The stock/factory firmware on many Chromebooks and Chromeboxes contains a legacy boot payload capable of running Linux out of the box.

Three types of custom firmware are also available, which can fix factory firmware bugs and/or add the ability to boot Linux to those models that otherwise cannot:

  • RW_LEGACY - updates/replaces the stock legacy boot payload (SeaBIOS) that supplements the ChromeOS / secure boot payload; does not require disabling the firmware write-protect, and carries no risk of bricking the device
  • BOOT_STUB - replaces the ChromeOS payload (and therefore the ability to boot ChromeOS) with a legacy boot payload; removes white developer boot screen, but requires write-protect screw to be removed
  • Full Firmware - replaces both the hardware init component (coreboot) and payload components (BOOT_STUB, RW_LEGACY) of the stock firmware with updated and/or customized versions of each; cannot boot ChromeOS, but offers the best support for booting all other OSes (including Windows).

Check Hardware Compatibility and the appropriate Support page to determine the status of your model.

There are several custom firmware options available, depending on your Chromebook/box model class, and the features you require:

Link ARM Pineview Sandy/Ivy Bridge Haswell Broadwell Bay Trail Braswell notes
CoolStar No No No Full Firmware (Chromebooks) Full Firmware (Chromebooks) No No • Fixes factory firmware bugs
• Boots Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows!
• Install Guide: Haswell, Broadwell
Firmware build scripts No No Full Firmware, BOOT_STUB (all) Full Firmware, BOOT_STUB, RW_LEGACY (all) BOOT_STUB, RW_LEGACY (all) BOOT_STUB (all) No • Fixes factory firmware bugs
• General purpose firmware for Linux
• Single script works for all supported models
• Firmware build scripts/configs not published
MattDevo No No Full Firmware (Chromebox) Full Firmware (ChromeBox), RW_LEGACY (all) Full Firmware (ChromeBox), RW_LEGACY (all) BOOT_STUB (ChromeBox) No • Fixes factory firmware bugs
• Headless boot support for servers
• PXE booting support
• Supports integration of Kodi Media Center
Firmware source/build scripts and payload source

Additions and corrections, please let us know: