[LinuxBIOS] Accessibility of LinuxBios

Marco Skambraks marco at suse.de
Mon Jul 3 12:56:56 CEST 2006

hi Stefan  und Samuel,

the problem with the braille support in bios is
that the modern PCs don't have a seriel-port maybe an on-board 

that's why more an more braille-display manufactories switch to 
so, we need usb-serial-converter support in bios
another problem is that the braille-display-protocoll is not a standard
each manufactory use their own protocoll
in some cases the protocoll is dependent on the model

and they also use different usb-serial-converters

the braille-driver is only one part
a second part is a very small and simple screenrading mechainism
to genrate a proper output

I think first it would be helpful to have bios access from the console 
with a small tool to adjust bios settings like
boot from CD or enable/disable hardware

maybe there is already a way to do this

best regards 


On Mon, 3 Jul 2006, Stefan Reinauer wrote:

> * 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
> > BIOS.
> > 
> > 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.
> Regards
> Stefan
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Marco Skambraks, Product Manager           
SUSE LINUX Products GmbH,  Maxfeldstr. 5,  D-90409 Nuernberg
T:   +49 (0) 911 74053-0
Fax: +49 (0) 911 74053-483             marco.skambraks at suse.com
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