[LinuxBIOS] Using GRUB as a payload

Alan Mimms a.mimms at f5.com
Mon Sep 25 17:46:50 CEST 2006

We have chosen a different tactic to maintain GRUB compatibility with
our existing products.  We use LinuxBIOS to load kboot, which
environment then runs a modified version of the Linux userland GRUB that
runs the UI for selecting a boot target.  The results are passed back to
kboot which then invokes the kernel/initrd using kexec().

This has turned out to be a pretty slick solution, as our BOOT LOADER
has a full (mini) Linux environment, so we can use VI to edit grub.conf,
load BIOS defaults and update the BIOS right from the kboot command
line.  We get enough of Linux to support USB and network loading/booting
in a first class way.

Does anyone else have this sort of system going?  I would be interested
in exchanging ideas if you do.

Thanks to all of you who have created this fine system - we find it very
flexible and powerful.

Alan Mimms, Senior Architect
F5 Networks, Inc.  Spokane Development Center
1322 North Whitman Lane
Liberty Lake, Washington   99019
v: 509-343-3524   f: 509-343-3501
-----Original Message-----
From: linuxbios-bounces at linuxbios.org
[mailto:linuxbios-bounces at linuxbios.org] On Behalf Of Stefan Reinauer
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 5:21 PM
To: Jamey
Cc: linuxbios at linuxbios.org
Subject: Re: [LinuxBIOS] Using GRUB as a payload

* Jamey <jamey at vodafone.net.nz> [060904 12:59]:
> I have just started reading up on LinuxBIOS and am keen to use it on
> EPIA-M powered Linux server (for... speed! - ok, and
> and wondered why GRUB isn't listed (or suggested) as a payload

The problem with grub (v0.9x) is that it makes heavy use of 16bit bios
callbacks that do not work with 32bit LinuxBIOS. But you can use FILO as
LinuxBIOS payload. FILO has an option to display a grub menu by reading
menu.lst. Check out http://www.linuxbios.org/index.php/FILO

> seems an obvious choice to me (not knowing the inner workings of
> LinuxBIOS), also, has anyone started working on a keyboard based
> utility such as is found by pressing F2 or similar at bootup in
> proprietory BIOS'?

Such a configuration utility exists. But since the CMOS format is open
and can be changed at compile time, the utility is not built into
LinuxBIOS but available as a (Linux) userspace program, so you can
use it in shell scripts and programs to automatically trigger certain
behavior. It is called lxbios. See http://lxbios.sourceforge.net/

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