[LinuxBIOS] Robson for LinuxBIOS

Stefan Reinauer stepan at coresystems.de
Thu Oct 26 17:23:44 CEST 2006

* Jun OKAJIMA <okajima at digitalinfra.co.jp> [061023 10:52]:
> I suppose that anybody here would know the name of Robson,
> Intel's HDD cache on flash mem. But, somebody dont know
> the detail of it?
Apparently it is supposed to be used by the operating system as a
hard drive cache replacement to allow hard drives to spin down

> I have an interest in the spec about logical format of the flash mems.
> I mean, they would have parition table and something like FAT table or 
> such,
> and what is the format?

on a hardware layer it is a NAND flash, so it can theoretically be used
with MTD in Linux. 

Is there any real hardware with "Robson" out there? I know several
systems (including those running LinuxBIOS, like the OLPC) have NAND
flash for storage _instead_ of a hard drive.

Where is "Robson" supposed to live? on the hard drive? on the mainboard?

> Why I want to know it? Because, I guess we can use the flash for putting
> Linux BIOS there. 

At least for the payload this might be interesting, indeed. Are there
any specs available for an actual hw implementation of Robson?

> And it is better that Linux BIOS partition can co-exist
> Robson cache partition. This is the reason I am curious about the logical 
> format.

The logical format might very well be different depending on the OS you
are using from what I can tell?

Is there any OS that will actually use this? Is there any hardware that
has this?

> If this is possible, we will not have to worry about the space shortage
> issue ( 256KB is small for linux bios) anymore. And it is also easy
> to "multi-boot" both normal BIOS and Linux BIOS, like ADLO.

EFI will bring us at least 8mbit of flash on most boards in the future
as well :-) Intel is about to log-roll... ;-)


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