VGA BIOS init debate

steven james pyro at
Mon Aug 11 06:51:01 CEST 2003


At the risk of getting too complex, we are already generating a map for
LinuxBIOS, what about placing it into an in RAM  table so payloads can
call the functions themselves rather than duplicate them?

That would certainly help out things like ADLO that need to do something
chipset specific in an otherwise generic function (such as control shadow

The problem with BIOS and DOS wasn't that there were int calls, it was
just that they were such an ad-hoc mismash and poorly defined.

Ultimately, I do want Linux as the bootloader, but form the looks of
things, 2.6 is still too big unless the network stack is compiled out.

Perhaps 2.7 will see a continuation of the embedded configuration so we
can have a very simple stack and polled I/O driver set, but it's clearly
not ready yet.

Meanwhile even as bigger flash chips become available, mainboard designers
almost seem determined to do the wrong thing.


On Fri, 8 Aug 2003, Adam Agnew wrote:

> I want to throw these arguments into the debate:
> I vote for the ELF payload. I would say that linking it in would be just
> as good, except that if EFI ever does really become common, a lot of
> these payloads would become useful to a larger user base. I do agree that
> there would be some redundancy in code, but I also believe the build
> process would be simplified (rom-o-matic certainly seems more feasible
> without so many options) and those new to LinuxBIOS would be able
> to grasp how it all links together easier.
> Right now, the split in idealogy has put us in quite the pickle. Linuxbios
> has two ways to tftp boot, three ways to polled ide boot, two ways to get
> a vga rom up and running.. If things are still even linked in to
> freebios2, there's a lot of confusion. Do different boot methods use elf
> payloads or are they compiled in? Well that would depend on which one.
> I too would like the Linux kernel to solve all of these problems, I hope
> I've never created the impression that I wish otherwise. But the chunk of
> mailing list traffic from embedded enthusiasts is getting still larger,
> nothing's really changed in ROM size since the Great Payload Debates of
> 2001, and Linux has only gotten bigger (though there's hope..).
> - Adam Agnew
> On Fri, 8 Aug 2003, ron minnich wrote:
> > folks, any opinions expressed on this VGA BIOS discussion would be
> > welcome.
> >
> > VGA BIOS in linuxbios, or in an ELF payload? What's your bet?
> >
> > ron
> >
> >
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> Linuxbios at

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