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[Libreboot] AMT replacement, Was: Intel ME opensource replacement

From: Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli
Subject: [Libreboot] AMT replacement, Was: Intel ME opensource replacement
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2016 13:57:16 +0200

On Thu, 23 Jun 2016 11:45:47 +0200
Daniel Tarrero <address@hidden> wrote:

> Hi folks!
> Those interested in Intel AMT can found this resources usefull,
AMT is just an application that is executed in the Management engine.

> Wires and Bytes
> ME unpack and query tools (they mention gluglug :)
This is rather an attempt to document the management engine, I guess in
the hope of running free software on it (or to disable it).

If successful, that can enable libreboot to run on more recent Intel

Replacing AMT:
AMT is just an application, running on the ME, that provides out of
band management of the computer.

Such out of the band management functionalities can be very handy when
you administrate a (home) server.

Having a replacement for many of the functionalities of AMT, is
probably doable without that much work, with free software.

Libreboot documentation mention free software running on a BMC.
However I think that wiring an SBC that runs a fully free distribution
might be better.

With an SBC, you could:
- Choose the hardware, this will probably suits you better, and
  can provide more trustworthiness.
- Run 100% free software distributions without much work. Parabola
  works on ARM. I'm not sure how much stable it is though.
- Have SSH and the usual required software. If you combine SSH and
  onion services, you have a pretty robust system: It doesn't need the
  DNS to work, it also ignores NAT (no port forwarding and so on).
  All you need is a robust way of running/booting the SBC, not to
  run out of space, and a reliable network connection.
- Have an independent power source, some even include a battery charger
  and connector.
- Have independent network connectivity. Most SBC have USB, so
  you can use ath9k_htc compatible WiFi dongles, or even data modems.
  Some have mini-PCIe connectors so you can use ath5k/ath9k compatible
- Trough the USB OTG connector, provides mass storage, serial port,
  and Ethernet.
- Have a serial port that is connected to the server serial port,
  for easy remote administration. If the server doesn't have serial, it
  could use USB debug(in coreboot/libreboot) and USB serial(after
  coreboot/libreboot) instead.
- Probably a way to power on/off the server trough its GPIO. I'm not
  sure exactly what is the best way to wire it. Probably in parallel to
  the power button wires. The ATX standard also has a way to power on a
  PSU with low voltage/amperage.

Note that Raptor Engineering has some test infrastructure that uses an
SBC to do some of theses functions.


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