[LinuxBIOS] Names names.. [was: Linux vs. Open?]

Peter Stuge stuge-linuxbios at cdy.org
Thu Mar 17 07:18:14 CET 2005

On Tue, Mar 15, 2005 at 03:00:06PM +0000, Jonathan Morton wrote:
> >>>pretty good, "mainboard firmware" - but then I'm back at the original
> >>>problem; what to call the non-payload part. Core? Hardware init?
> >>
> >>What about init phase?  The whole pre-payload is basically just a
> >>per-subsystem init procedure.  Be it CPU, memory, pci cards, or
> >>whatever.
> If I understand right, the "bootstrap" section (presently called
> LinuxBIOS) is essentially a stripped-down Linux kernel with some
> rather more in-depth device initialisation capabilities.  Such a
> configuration does make sense, and would allow very flexible boot
> device support.

Unfortunately not, as Ron said.

To further explain, a LinuxBIOS firmware image file (.bin, to be
flashed into a flash ROM) currently has a couple of logical parts:

* RAM initialization
* Hardware initialization of remaining things on the mainboard far
enough for a Linux kernel to be able to find, further init and use.
* Payload

The first two are developed in the freebios/freebios2 source tree
that recently moved from SourceForge to OpenBIOS.org. The payload can
come from a number of different places; it can be a Linux kernel, but
can also be FILO, (loads a supposed OS kernel from a filesystem on a
mass-storage device) Etherboot, (loads a supposed OS kernel from the
network, but also includes a version of FILO) ADLO, (legacy
compatibility layer that can be used to start up Windows 2000 and
other products) memtest86 (tests RAM) and probably lots of other
programs that I can't remember.

> If this is true, then as a kernel it *does* have callbacks, and can
> justifiably be termed a BIOS in the strict sense of the word, even
> if it doesn't provide the legacy "IBM compatible" calls to run
> M$-DOS directly.  Thus the name "LinuxBIOS" should probably stick.

With Linux as the payload, yes, definately. I do imagine other uses
for it, although that is the primary goal.


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