LinuxBIOS questions

Richard Smith rsmith at
Thu Jan 22 11:27:00 CET 2004

Armijn Hemel wrote:

> Do I really need to remove the normal BIOS from a machine, insert a
> ZIF socket, etc.? I read an article (British Linux Magazine) which
> suggests that you always have to, but when I read the LinuxBIOS pages
> I start to wonder...

> If it's not the case, any chance that LinuxBIOS will work for a Dell 
> Optiplex GX1 system (Intel 440BX PIIX4e chipset)? I already took a
> look and you can't remove the BIOS, which I'd like to have replaced,
> because it freaks me out and has wasted hours of precious time.

Since your chips are soldered to the pcb things are going to be a little 
more difficult.  As if you flash in something that dosen't work then 
your board is toast.  Do you know if your stock bios has a "recovery" 
method?  If it does then you can use that to flash in a new copy of the 
bios if you get something that dosen't boot.

The 440BX is pretty much fully supported.  The freebios (as opposed to 
the new freebios2) tree will set up and enable everything except the 
power management system.  Unless this is a laptop you shouldn't need the 
power managment stuff.

This assumes that Dell does not do something special to enable the SPD 
signals to the RAM.  Setup is not fully automatic though and parts of 
the code will have to be customized to your system.

Usually the only way to really find this stuff out is to boot LinuxBIOS 
and see what happens.  Thus the danger of winding up with a paper weight.

You need to know things such as how your PCI IRQs are routed, and other 
stuff.  I tried to keep all the custom options of our board specific to 
the "bitworks/IMS" config but I would not be suprised if there was 
something lurking in the main tree that only worked on an IMS system.  I 
added lots of code.

Richard A. Smith
rsmith at

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