LinuxBIOS questions

Eric W. Biederman ebiederman at
Thu Jan 22 15:10:01 CET 2004

Armijn Hemel <armijn at> writes:

> hello all,
> for the Dutch Linux Magazine ( I'm writing an
> article about open source hardware and LinuxBIOS is one of the projects
> I will mention. I have a question which does not seem to be answered
> in the FAQ.
> 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.

There are two important cases.
1) Development machines.
2) Production machines.

On production machines you can have things soldered on with no

On a development machine you want some insurance against misflashing
the BIOS.

There is some safety with linuxbios on development machines as it is
typically configured to have two copies of the firmware on the ROM

As for getting a socket on a board without one for people who
have the skill removing a rom chip and soldering in a socket is
fairly doable.

The minimum requirements for developing LinuxBIOS are:
1) a method for recovering from a bad flash (usually a socketed rom chip)
2) a serial console.
3) Documentation...
4) Time

With all of those you can probably do a complete LinuxBIOS port.


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