Stefan Reinauer <stepan(a)openbios.org> writes:
There has been a similar proposal on this list a while
ago, but nothing
happened so far, so I want to put this pack to discussion.
LinuxBIOS is kind of hard to set up for project newbies, since it
does not only require manually tweaking the configuration files for
basically every situation, but also necessarily needs an external
payload to do anything useful.
LinuxBIOS currently sets a high barrier due to the modular concepts it
- LinuxBIOS itself is sometimes very sensitive to the
environment. See requirement for setting LANG for example.
? The only time I have heard this is with buggy perl when building
- For a project outsider it is hard to determine the
solution for a specific purpose. There is basically no information
except the mailing list archives.
That are documentation is sketchy is a problem. Half the problem is
that many of the payloads are not terribly mature. ADLO for example
has to be hacked for each board for example. That can only be fixed
by fixing the payloads.
- Config files have to be tweaked to explicitly suit
directory structure. There is no proposal, nothing that works out of
the box. One just _has to_ edit the config files.
Agree that is an issue.
- LinuxBIOS requires the user to specify a size for
the payload instead
of determining the required size and doing the needed calculations
itself. This is very hand-crufted and can be pretty mind wasting.
I sort of agree. This is more a matter of reserving a whole you can
place a payload in. Ideally the payloads can be flashed
independently. In any case this should be once per board port, and
not something the user needs to mess with.
And a couple more.
- Too many linuxbios options need to be specified in the top level
configuration file, or they don't work.
- We don't have stable releases. You get snapshot of they day instead.
* LinuxBIOS therefore needs a way to automatically
sizes when building the image and later when executing payloads.
Hardcoding the size values in the config files is inadequate and will
lead to unnecessary overhead
There is certainly an issue with flash device layout here. But I
don't think it is quite as simple as your intuition.
* LinuxBIOS should, to be consequent, remove all
streaming code except
On some platforms like the alpha after you have loaded yourself
from an srom. Or if your primary ROM chip is a Disk-On-Chip that you
need code for reading a ROM. The IDE driver is certainly interesting.
* Payloads should have the possibility to add their
own enhancements to
the LinuxBIOS table.
They do they can rewrite it.
* A least one payload should be "default
payload" with the possibility
to build this automatically and link it into the image.
To make things easier I largely agree.
This is why I checked the
"util/extensions" directory into v2 during
the last discussion. It should hold possible choices to payloads that
can automatically be built and included. Potentially one could add
more payloads by symlinking their source tree to this directory to make
it available to LinuxBIOS without major reconfiguration.
People feel a lot safer with creating a symlink than with changing
config files they do not fully understand.
Since these can later be executed in row by
elfboot, the minimum
overhead design of LinuxBIOS itself will not be hurt.
At this point I want to put an idea to discussion: If we are going
more and more modular and some of us think the current tree is too
bloated: Why do we not modularize code like pci resource allocation
into a payload as well. My favorite bootloader may already do this
and I can't stand this bloat everywhere, you know ;) Even though this
may sound funny, I am serious about this issue. I do not see why
allocating PCI resources should really be part of the lowlevel code,
except for the fact that the NEXT payload in row, potentially Linux
itself is too stupid to do that. Bummer.
You cannot use hardware unless it has been allocated resources. You
cannot do device resource allocation except by looking at all devices.
So largely this is a catch 22 type situation.
The problem with implementing device resource allocation in Linux is
that it requires motherboard specific knowledge. Frequently onboard
devices have BARs in non-standard locations, the kernel does not know
about, or there are non-enumerable devices like sio chips that have
resources as well.
If a general purpose way of exporting the motherboard specific
information (which devices are present and how they are hooked up)
can be developed. And we can teach Linux to use it. Possibly making
it a CONFIG_EMBEDDED option. I have no problem with pushing out most
of the code and letting Linux handle it. And I am even willing to
help with that as time permits. But until such time as we can reset
OS's expectations of what to expect from the hardware/firmware
combination I am not ready to remove that code.
Beyond that the pci enumeration code is totally optional. The
mainboard code just needs not to call it.
There are couple of sticky points I see. On boxes like the Opteron I
have a hard time seeing how to setup something that is reasonably sane
with hypertransport routing without find which resources are needed by
the devices. I also have a hard time seeing how much memory you can
report and how to set the memory BARs without knowing how large
your memory mapped pci resources are.
Absolute minimal size and trivial configuration are conflicting
goals. Getting things as small as possible will require some serious
user tweaking of configuration and possibly likely even the code.
For example to remove the calls into the pci configuration code
requires changing the motherboard code.
* LinuxBIOS configuration should have an easier
mechanism for choosing
payloads from the "default" directory, allowing them to be built
automatically. Right now I am doing:
linux32 make CC="gcc -m32" LD="ld -melf_i386"
freebios2/targets/buildtarget amd/solo $PWD/freebios2
cp build-solo/solo.rom .
My target Config.lb comes with these constructs:
So I build everything completely out of the freebios2 tree, because
building in-tree sucks. The only thing left is to get filo and the
other payloads to build out-of-tree as well.
Hmm. I always have payload set to something like:
So the symlink part comes naturally.
Given that building out of the tree is our encouraged state. What we
likely need to do is to actually have something like configuration
that sets up the environment for the user.
That way it can be as simple as:
What I should probably do is dig out the LinuxBIOS source rpms that I
use and see if there is something that the community can adopt from