testing and researching

Stefan Reinauer stepan at openbios.org
Tue Nov 2 05:39:00 CET 2004

* Jakob Praher <jpraher at yahoo.de> [041102 12:38]:
> I'd like to do some embedded systems and cluster research and would like
> to use linuxbios as the building block.
> Has anybody tried to use linuxbios as the bios in a vm like bochs or
> vmware, so that one can "play" with linuxbios in software only?
I started a build for qemu, a free x86 (plus a lot of other
cpus/architectures) emulator, see http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/

there's a target emulation/qemu-i386 but it needs some fixing since the
last major restructure...

> Additionally I'd like to know, whether you prefere the LinuxBiosKernel
> (I mean that there is no "real" linux kernel in the bios) over the
> LinuxKernel in Bios approach. If you are using LinuxBiosKernel are you
> using a standard ATA flash disk, or are there better ways to boot the
> LinuxKernel.....
There is no such thing as a LinuxBIOS-Kernel. Basically LinuxBIOS
initializes the machine just far enough so a Linux (or any other) kernel
can be started from flash or IDE(disk/cf/...)
This kernel or application is reffered to as "payload" in LinuxBIOS
Since most flash devices are too small to fit in a standard linux
kernel, other payloads are used that allow loading a Linux kernel or
other operating system from a file system or over network. Examples for
payloads are: OpenBIOS, etherboot, filo (See mailinglist archive for
more information).

> * in todays boards: is the flash bios big enough for the LinuxBiosKernel

If you load a Linux kernel from an IDE device, it fits easily in every
common flash device out there. Otherwise you will at least need 512k or
more of flash.. I don't think that Linux in flash is a good solution,
but others on this list have a different opinion and proofed that it
works fine.

> * if not, which flash chips would you prefer?

You always need something that is compatible to the already available
flash device (LPC/parallel/3V,5V,12V...) 

> * what board would you choose for clustering testing purposes (it should
> have state of the art peripheral stuff and modern chipsets, etc).

Clearly AMD64 boards with AMD8111/8151/8131 chipset. They are best
supported so far. Many boards from Tyan come with this chipset, but
there are machines/boards available from other vendors as well..


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