An open source, physically secure personal computer.

Sep 08, 2016

Project update 4 of 23

Funded and Coreboot BIOS

First, thanks to all our backers so far for helping us reach our funding goal so early in the campaign! Obviously, developing, testing, manufacturing, and shipping ORWL will cost (and has already cost) much more than our relatively modest funding goal. Nonetheless, reaching the goal was very important to us as a sign people actually want ORWL to exist. We’re greatly encouraged and forging ahead with development.

On that note, we today took a big step toward overcoming the largest remaining technical hurdle to bringing ORWL to life: BIOS development. Specifically, we’re happy to announce we’ve entered into an agreement with Eltan to bring Coreboot to ORWL.

Many of ORWL’s security features rely on the interaction between the BIOS and the secure microcontroller (MCU). For example, the secure MCU needs to instruct the BIOS to lock the computer when the keyfob goes out of range. Similarly, the secure MCU needs to provide the encrypted SSD with the decryption key at the right time in the boot process.

While we had already made some progress in customizing the BIOS, there is still a lot of work to do and having the professionals at Eltan on board will ensure this work is carried out quickly and correctly. Eltan is intimately familiar with Coreboot - we couldn’t have hoped to work with a better partner on the BIOS.

Coreboot itself is another reason to celebrate - it is widely used, in active development, and, most importantly, auditable. Eltan’s adaptation of Coreboot for ORWL will be open for public inspection. We will post a separate update with the technical details of what exactly needs to be adapted.

As always, thanks for your support, get in touch with any questions or comments, and tell your friends that ORWL is a go!

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