[LinuxBIOS] Accessibility of LinuxBios

Stefan Reinauer stepan at coresystems.de
Mon Jul 3 01:11:05 CEST 2006

* Samuel Thibault <samuel.thibault at ens-lyon.org> [060703 00:06]:
> BIOSes is an area where accessibility is approximately non-existent.
> Asking vendors to support hardware speech syntheses and braille devices
> is quite dreamwork. I tried to convince accessibility people to release
> basic drivers with BSD licenses so that vendors might integrate them,
> but they just refused that, arguing that vendors will not make any
> effort to integrate them, and there will always be bugs 
Maybe this code could be encapsulated, similar to how VGA
bios or network boot is handled. On the other hand, this would cut off
quite some of the bringup from "visibility"

> LinuxBios, however, can be a great opportunity to have an accessible
> So what can be done? If I understood well, LinuxBios is a linux kernel
> -based bios. Does that mean that it has the notion of process, or does
> it run only in kernel mode? (which is sufficient for taking advantage of
> linux drivers).

LinuxBIOS initializes the machine just far enough so that it can run a
Linux kernel from flash memory, hence the name. This in-flash Linux can
run normal userspace programs as well as load another kernel from a
hard disk or any other supported medium. 

usually we can say: the main information exchange with LinuxBIOS (before
the kernel is started) is not via VGA but via serial, which i believe is
in theory usable with a braille terminal connected to another machine. 
(Is this correct?)

The interaction part is all happening while Linux is loaded (ie. from flash)
so we could use a local braille terminal at this point by using all the
Linux utilities. 

One question is: how big is the Linux code to support one/some/many/all
braille terminals and can we fit this in a 512kB/1MB flash part.
The answer mostly depends on your needs.


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