Introducing Kestrel, part II: it's a soft-BMC

Well, geez, guys, why didn't you just say so in the first place? Kestrel is a "soft" BMC replacement, meaning you can devise your own Baseboard Management Controller/service processor to bring an OpenPOWER system up from absolutely nothing but a Lattice ECP5. Now, that's cool!

The underpinnings are strongly based on the Microwatt soft core and as such makes it a true OpenPOWER processor itself, not ARM like the ASPEED BMC on shipping Raptor systems. Kestrel is not currently far enough along to bring up the On-Chip Controllers on the POWER9 (PowerPC 4xx-like cores), but this appears to merely be a matter of adding more IPMI command support. It is, however, enough to kick off the POWER9's Self-Boot Engines and go into Hostboot, so the basics absolutely work.

Right now I think this system is a little raw for general usage, and the soldering requirement on a several thousand dollar board that's badly backordered is not appealing. The whole dev stack is also intended for Raptor systems, though to be honest if you care about Kestrel you undoubtedly already own one. But Raptor is to be commended for making a shippable product out of Microwatt and making it truly open, as one would expect from them. What I'm interested to see, however, is whether future Raptor systems have Kestrels on board instead of the ASPEED. That would be really impressive in terms of owner control and would make the current valiant but vain efforts to neuter x86 firmware look even more pathetic.