[LinuxBIOS] FILO with the USB

Stefan Reinauer stepan at coresystems.de
Sat Nov 17 14:49:23 CET 2007

Al Boldi wrote:
> The problem with the current tiny-kernel approach is that, it can't get 
> nearly as tiny as filo.  And when you have legacy systems like i440bx with 
> only 256kb flash, then tiny-kernel becomes a definite no go, which make filo 
> the only viable solution.
> What we really need is a stripped down tiny-kernel.  IOW, a single-proc 
> kernel-stub with its sole purpose to provide access to the large linux 
> driver pool.  Later, this could conceivably be inlined with the LinuxBIOS 
> code-base, making LinuxBIOS really a BIOS that makes use of linux.
I don't have good memories on this approach: MILO, the Alpha Linux
bootloader, did exactly that. Been there, done that. I made such a stub
for Kernels 2.2 and 2.4.

The one disadvantage of all Linux as Bootloader approaches is that you
can not really fit any decent amount of drivers into any existing system
flash. Yes it has been done as a proof-of-concept but as far as I know
Linux-as-bootloader never made it into any product (that I know of)

Ripping the scheduler out of Linux will get us space for another half to
full driver ... But creating a flexible ROM that allows to use all SCSI
controllers and boot a number of operating systems, will always fail.
The SCSI drivers of Linux alone are more than 30MByte. Even with 128MBit
parts we don't come anywhere close.

Don't get me wrong. I do like the L-A-B approach. It's just not the
solution to all problems.


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