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Flash Updates with Linux
Formerly OpenBIOS provided its own flashing facility implemented as a device driver called /dev/bios. One big disadvantage of /dev/bios was that it needed to be recompiled for every minor kernel update.
Ollie Lho, back when working at SIS, started a new effort which he called flash_and_burn. This utility became part of the coreboot project and evolved to work with non-SIS chipsets.
Stefan Reinauer added a lot of new features to Ollie's utility and renamed it to flashrom. This utility still lacks some features the old /dev/bios driver was having, but it can easily be used from userspace without recompiling the kernel.
For more information about flashrom see http://www.flashrom.org/