Bringing Linux back to the Server BIOS with LinuxBoot

Author: Trammel Hudson (Two Sigma), Ron Minnich 

Presented at: 34C3, 12/29/2017

Abstract: The NERF and Heads projects bring Linux back to the cloud servers’ boot ROMs by replacing nearly all of the vendor firmware with a reproducible built Linux runtime that acts as a fast, flexible, and measured boot loader. It has been years since any modern servers have supported Free Firmware options like LinuxBIOS or coreboot, and as a result server and cloud security has been dependent on unreviewable, closed source, proprietary vendor firmware of questionable quality. With Heads on NERF, we are making it possible to take back control of our systems with Open Source Software from very early in the boot process, helping build a more trustworthy and secure cloud.

This article is not an endorsement by Two Sigma of the papers discussed, their viewpoints or the companies discussed. The views expressed above reflect those of the authors and are not necessarily the views of Two Sigma Investments, LP or any of its affiliates (collectively, “Two Sigma”). The information presented above is only for informational and educational purposes and is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or other instruments. Additionally, the above information is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for investment, accounting, legal or tax advice. Two Sigma makes no representations, express or implied, regarding the accuracy or completeness of this information, and the reader accepts all risks in relying on the above information for any purpose whatsoever. Click here for other important disclaimers and disclosures.