This doc is for the SoC in the Pi 4B. I personally haven’t read through it yet, but glancing at the table of contents I see there are many goodies here. Hooray for not having to look at Pi 4B DTS (device tree) sources as documentation! 😇
Originally Samer and I were going to present the ongoing Raspberry Pi 4B UEFI work at Linaro Connect ’20 in Budapest. Of course, life had its own plans, but fortunately Linaro was gracious and accommodating to host a virtual event and invite us to be a part of it.
We briefly talked about ServerReady and standardization of the server parts, mentioned the difficulties seen with current non-server parts like the Pi, described the approach taken, provided a status update on where the UEFI/ACPI “ServerReady”-like firmware is today, and left the audience with a call to action to both join the community effort and help beyond the Pi with some other devices, like Rockchip and nVidia-based platforms. Had some good questions from the audience, too.
I hadn’t even finished writing up the 1.6 related artifacts when Pete pushed the button on the new release. Huge thanks both to Pete for getting this out there so soon and to Ard Biesheuvel for reviewing and approving the edk2-platforms fixes.
The ACPI fixes will mean improved hardware support in OSes, although today that mostly means improved NetBSD support. We definitely need some volunteers to help with enabling Pi 4 support with ACPI in upstream Linux – see the issue tracker.
Big shout-out to Jeremy Linton for the PPTT implementation (Processor Properties Topology Table) – a new ACPI 6.3 table describing the relation between CPUs and caches. Yes, that’s not a typo – our PPTT is the 2nd revision variant introduced in ACPI 6.3, whereas PPTT was first introduced in 6.2.
Biggest change here is that your Pi will now boot at the default (Pi Foundation-recommended) frequency, instead of the 600MHz minimum. One less configuration option to change on every upgrade!
IMPORTANT: HTTP(S) boot, like PXE and iSCSI, will not currently work with the internal network card, because the GENET driver has not been upstreamed yet. This means you need a supported USB interface (Ax88772b) to use this feature.
Our UEFI firmware already supports certain USB-based network adapters for network booting (or other purposes), but that requires an additional adapter, which becomes even more awkward if you want to use a PoE HAT. NetBSD Arm platform guru Jared McNeill has been working on something, that Pi 4 UEFI users are going to find pretty cool. Dongle-less PXE and iSCSI is coming to a Pi 4 near you, because we’re getting native support for GENET networking soon! 😍🔥
This is being implemented as a Simple Network Protocol driver, so it will be usable by any UEFI driver or application.
This release mostly improves on the logic added to v1.4 release for switching between 3GB/4GB modes on the 4GB Pi 4.
The fix for external .dtb is worth diving into. Many of our readers will know, that Raspberries traditionally boot operating systems with Device Tree, instead of ACPI. A dated overview can be found on the official Pi site. Long story short, if you want to boot an 64-bit Linux, NetBSD or FreeBSD today on the Pi with full I/O support, you still need the Device Tree that the VPU firmware prepares based on your config.txt settings (dtparams, overlays, etc).
The Pi 4 support for Device Tree is exactly like the Pi 3 support. At the time, UEFI relied on the Device Tree being placed in RAM after the UEFI image itself, basically overlaying itself on a section of the UEFI image. Recently, new VideoCore firmware broke this approach (which I really shouldn’t have come up with in the first place!) by switching the load ordering – now the Device Tree was loaded before the UEFI image, and since the two images overlapped, the Device Tree blob was getting overwritten. You can read more about it here and here. Anyway, it’s fixed now. The same fix needs to be made to the Pi 3 build. That’s still TBD.
Be mindful that the fix involved changing the load address for the Device Tree in a way that wouldn’t overlap the UEFI image. The new values are:
While looking at the above regression, we were also able to regain 2MiB of memory, as the Trusted Firmware footprint for Pi 4 is much smaller than on the Pi 3.
Based on feedback in the Discord channel (thanks Samer!) I reworked the status page to scale better across future releases and provide more information in an easier-to-consume fashion.
Not only does the new version aggregate all of the release notes, but provides an easy way for locating firmware feature, development status, OS support and standards compliance reports for every new release. All of the OS and firmware status reports will be per release, meaning you will be able to reference old reports if needed.
I’ve added a new link to menu – a status page, providing a fairly-detailed view of things working or broken in the current release. It probably needs to be split into more pages to separate UEFI implementation from operating system-visible aspects like SMBIOS and ACPI, but it’s a place to start.