Retroboot is a coreboot distribution, originally forked from the Libreboot
20160907 build system. The aim is to provide free boot firmware, replacing the
proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware found on most systems. You can say that it is
*retrofitted boot firmware*, hence the name: Retroboot!
Retroboot offers many benefits over proprietary firmware; encrypted /boot/,
GPG signature checking of Linux kernels, fast boot speeds, extreme level of
configurability (by the user), better security features and better reliably in
general, to name a few. Retroboot's main upstream providers are:
- Coreboot project
- SeaBIOS project
- GNU GRUB
When needed, custom patches are integrated in the Retroboot build system.
Where possible, these patches are upstreamed. With Retroboot *you*, the user,
are in control over your computer. You can experience a level of freedom that
you're probably not used to if you've only ever used proprietary boot firmware
like what you'll find on most computers.
Libreboot already accomplishes this task, but with a limitation: it blocks any
boards from coreboot that require blobs in the SPI flash, where Libreboot is
installed to. By contrast, Retroboot allows *any* board that coreboot supports
to be added, which means that some of the boards added might depend upon binary
blobs. Not everyone wants to use Libreboot, but they still want some freedom;
Retroboot reduces the amount of non-free software that such people use, and
thus, the focus is on *harm reduction*.
I, Leah Rowe, am founder of this project. I also created Libreboot. Over the
years I've noticed a growing trend of people who yearn for computing freedom
but want newer/faster hardware than what Libreboot supports. Retroboot is
the project that such people are looking for. Retroboot acts as a stop-gap
solution for such users, in the meantime while Libreboot works (over a period
of time) to add newer hardware. Thus, Retroboot is a *compromise*, but one
that some users would be better off making in certain situations. I obviously
still recommend that people use Libreboot systems, with Libreboot installed.
The aim, therefore, is "harm reduction", by reducing the amount of non-free
software usage by non-technical users. Retroboot provides an automated build
system that compiles ROM images with coreboot, GRUB, flashrom and many other
programs fully integrated.
Retroboot is inspired by a much earlier project, called autoboot. Autoboot
was created by Klemens Nanni many years ago, domain name autoboot.org. As of
this day, 20 Dec 2020, the autoboot website has been offline for many years
but you can view it in the wayback machine. Retroboot is a continuation of
the vision behind Autoboot. Autoboot itself was also a fork of Libreboot's
build system, when it existed. I occasionally worked with the author of
Autoboot, sharing/porting patches between the Libreboot and Autoboot build
systems (in an attempt to maintain feature parity, and help each other out in
Retroboot documentation is under docs/
The website is https://retroboot.org/
License can be found in COPYING and through parts of the source tree.