The fact that I always try to use open source softwares makes me to find new softwares and try them to see if they can solve my problems and do the job or not. Times ago, I had tried flashrom project to see if it can update my bios chip or not and the answer was NO ! Your chipset is not supported yet !
Later on, it was about May 2009 which I found a program which could change the boot logo of Phoenix bios images and I recalled flashrom. It was interesting that this time it said “Yeah, Your chip is now being supported! :)”. I made it to read my Bios image and the result was a real and valid phoenix image which I could change it. After making a new image, running flashrom to write it finished without any warnings or errors. I read the image again and Boom ! It was neither the original bios, nor the new one.
This is exactly where my first email went up online on the community’s mailing list and I knew that any invalid act which yields to rebooting the laptop is going to kill it. :
I tried the latest svn version (6 May 09) of flashrom and unlike older versions didn’t get a warning on my chipset. flashrom reads my chip successfully and outputs a fine Phoenix bios. After writing a new image into the chip
I found that writer is not fully functional and reading the chip again results in an image that is neither original one nor the new image. then I tried erase functionality and it resulted in some 0xFF and some unchanged bytes in the chip. Currently writing either images doesn’t change the chip and it remains in mostly 0xFF bytes.
Most of open source project maintainers use IRC as their collaboration and communication channel both with themselves and community. I went online and Peter one the maintainers was online but he wasn’t the person responsible for ICH7 series chipsets, So I had to wait for Carl to come online. It was midnight in Iran and I went to bed leaving the laptop up and running. Next morning I found Carl and after working with him to find the problem, he suggested to try AAI type of Chip-Programming. It was a time consuming task and I had to go for an important session, So I left home.
When I returned back, I got no good results of AAI. The wonderful part of story is that my little sister had played with my laptop, when I was out, and didn’t power it off, so that I don’t get noticed she touched my laptop without permission. 😀
Carl reviewed the data-sheets for my Bios chip and found that It doesn’t support writing multiple bytes at a time. Finally he sent me some patches and the last patch wrote the image successfully. I worked a few more hours to finalize the patch and sent some verification emails so that Carl can commit them to the main version tree (And got acknowledges for helping to track down the bug ! 😉 ).
It was an amazing experience of active community support and I should really thank Carl-Daniel Hailfinger, Peter Stuge and all other active maintainers of open source projects.