Ease of platform and board customization is one of the most important design goal of creating SBL. It has many benefits from both system perspective and business use cases. For example,

  • By using a centralized configuration infrastructure code, it is easier to manage all configuration related data in all boot stages in the same way
  • Because configuration data is packed into a central region in SBL image, it is easier to customize these changes, or add security protection, or optimize its footprint.
  • By defining a standardized human readable configuration format, it is easier to create tools to provide user interface to manage many platform configurations.

After all, SBL is designed for embedded systems where a vast diversity of platform settings exists for the same generation of silicon.

Configuration Editor Tool

SBL supports Configuration Editor Tool to configure firmware settings with graphics UI. This tool is included in SBL source package at /SblOpen/BootloaderCorePkg/Tools.

SBL has two sets of configuration data in the image:

Internal configuration data
Software default values. It is unchangeable once SBL is built. In case of external configuration data is not available or corrupted, internal data is loaded instead.
External configuration data
Platform specific data which is configurable by tools. It can be protected with user provided key.

One firmware image can support configuration requirements of multiple platforms. To support this, Slim Bootloader solution creates DSC file and DLT file to handle board level differences.

Install Ubuntu 1 of 5

Configuration Flow

Install Ubuntu 1 of 5

_DSC File

  • DSC file is the heart of all platform settings including memory, silicon, GPIO, OS boot policy, security settings etc.
  • DSC file, in general is located in project specific board folder.
  • For example, you can find DSC file for APL platform under SblOpenPlatformApollolakeBoardPkgCfgData folder.

Please note that you may find many DSC files. However, only CfgDataDef.dsc is the primary file used for the platform configuration, and other sub DSC files will be included by the primary DSC file to provide component specific configuration.

The main platform configuration file is specified in CfgDataDef.dsc. The following screen shots will help explain. Once DSC file is loaded, all other grayed menu will be enabled.


_DLT File

  • DLT (delta) file is used to provide overrides to DSC file to address board-level difference, including GPIO, boot policy, PCIE configuration, security settings etc.
  • DLT file contains unique Platform ID, and build tools will apply the settings to firmware images based on the platform ID.

DLT file can be generated in different ways:

  • Change any existing settings, and save it to DLT file with Configuration Editor Tool.
  • Load values from an existing binary file, and then save the changes as DLT file.
  • Update existing DLT file with other text editor.

Platform is one area that we must take care of. Most of the times, we open the DSC file and DLT file, and then save changes back to DLT file.

To include the DLT file, open Platform/ApollolakeBoardPkg/, and add like this: self._CFGDATA_EXT_FILE = [‘CfgData_Ext_Gpmrb.dlt’]

Platform ID


Platform ID and board ID are used interchangeably in this section

SBL uses platform ID to select the associated configuration data. The platform ID can be specified at build time or dynamically detected from GPIO pins at runtime. At the beginning of Stage 1B (GetBoardIdFromGpioPins()), SBL attempts to load GPIO platform ID by tag CDATA_PID_GPIO_TAG. If the tag is found, the actual platform ID value is read from the GPIO pins. Otherwise, SBL uses static platform ID.

SBL supports up to 32 platform IDs. Note that Platform ID 0 served to carry the default CFGDATA values defined in the CfgDataDef.dsc file. So it cannot be used for a real board. So technically, SBL can support upto 31 boards.


In addition to board specific delta files, a DLT file that overrides configuration parameters for all boards (board id 0) is also supported. If platform ID needs to be configurable without source, DLT file for board ID 0 is required. This is useful when common board settings are to be changed without changing the platform configuration DSC file.

Platform Configuration Files

Platform ID Configuration

  1. Provide platform ID (1-15) value in board configuration file (*.dlt):
PLATFORMID_CFG_DATA.PlatformId                  | 0x7
  1. Build SBL and stitch IFWI image

Platform ID Detection using GPIOs

  1. Configure designated 4 GPIO pins in board configuration file using Configuration Editor.
  2. Provide platform ID value (0-15) in board configuration file (*.dlt):
PLATFORMID_CFG_DATA.PlatformId                  | 0x9


Internally, SBL adds 16 to Platform ID detected using GPIOs in order not to conflict with static IDs.

  1. Build SBL and stitch IFWI image

Common Configuration Categories

SBL comes with commonly used configurable options for a given platform [1]. One can add new configurations (Platform/<platform_foo>/CfgData/*.dsc) and Stage 1B board specific code (Platform/<platform_foo>/Library/Stage1BBoardInitLib/)

Configuration data are grouped by categories:

  • GPIO
  • Memory and eMMC tuning
  • Graphics related
  • Device related (USB, eMMC etc)
  • Security
  • Boot options
  • Feature related (e.g., log level)

Configuration data is loaded and verified in Stage1B. Once loaded, SBL groups related configuration item by tags and the data can be retrieved by calling function FindConfigDataByTag(). For example, CDATA_USB_TAG.

Example Console Outputs

External configuration data for board (platform 1) is loaded:

============= Intel Slim Bootloader STAGE1B =============
BoardID: 0001
Load External Cfg data...BIOS
Load EXT CFG Data @ 0xFEF05FF8:0x0080 ... Success
HASH Verification Success! Component Type (4)
RSA Verification Success!
Load Security Cfg Data
Load Memory Cfg Data
Load Graphics Cfg Data


[1]Apollo Lake platform code includes various validated configuration options supporting UP2 board.