[GSoC] How to Use ARM Trusted Firmware in Coreboot

Hello, I’m Asami. In this article, I’m going to talk about how to use ARM Trusted Firmware in coreboot for ARMv8 (AArch64). ARM Trusted Firmware provides a reference implementation of secure world software for Armv8-A and Armv8-M. You can see the code via https://github.com/ARM-software/arm-trusted-firmware.

Trusted Firmware has 5 steps which are called as BL1, BL2, BL3-1, BL3-2, and BL3-3. BL1 step is similar to the bootblock stage and BL2 is similar to the romstage of coreboot. In the coreboot project, we only use the BL3-1 part that is expected to work on EL3 exception level. The code of BL3-1 will execute just after the ramstage and before the payload when we enable the Trusted Firmware.

How to enable Trusted Firmware

It’s very easy to enable Trusted Firmware on coreboot. You just need to ‘select ARM64_USE_ARM_TRUSTED_FIRMWARE’ in your Kconfig. If you want to run coreboot on QEMU/AArch64, you need to add the ‘select ARM64_USE_ARM_TRUSTED_FIRMWARE’ at src/mainboard/emulation/qemu-aarch64/Kconfig. The next step switches depending on the configuration at src/arch/arm64/boot.c. Here is the code to switch the next step:

// src/arch/arm64/boot.c
static void run_payload(struct prog *prog)
	void (*doit)(void *);
	void *arg;

	doit = prog_entry(prog);
	arg = prog_entry_arg(prog);
	u64 payload_spsr = get_eret_el(EL2, SPSR_USE_L);

		arm_tf_run_bl31((u64)doit, (u64)arg, payload_spsr);
		transition_to_el2(doit, arg, payload_spsr);

Why using Trusted Firmware

Coreboot for ARMv8 has 2 options to pass an execution from it to a payload. The first is passing execution to a payload directly and the second one is passing to the BL3-1 code before a payload. You always don’t have to use Trusted Firmware. However, you need to enable Trusted Firmware if you want to run Linux because it expects to work with PSCI. PSCI is an abbreviation of Power State Coordination Interface which is a standard interface for power management that can be used by OS vendors for supervisory software working at different levels of privilege on an ARM device. Coreboot doesn’t have the setup for PSCI but Trusted Firmware does.

Current Status

Unfortunately, QEMU/AArch64 in coreboot doesn’t support Trusted Firmware yet. It means we can’t run Linux with QEMU for ARMv8. I’m now trying to support Trusted Firmware for QEMU/AArch64.