[coreboot] High demand for CLI payload: Use GRUB 2?

David Hendricks dhendrix at google.com
Fri Jan 24 03:10:39 CET 2014

On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 1:59 PM, Paul Menzel <
paulepanter at users.sourceforge.net> wrote:

> Dear coreboot folks,
> in the coreboot IRC channel it was mentioned that a lot of vendors want
> to have a CLI (command line interface) payload. To get that they even
> used U-Boot as a payload. Though nobody understand the reason for this
> demand, the common opinion was to just give in and provide a solution
> for their problem.
> As getting a CLI payload with for example auto-completion, help texts
> and so on is tiresome and probably takes some work, I wonder why GRUB 2
> is not a suitable solution? It’s very modular and thanks to Vladimir
> works very well as a payload for some time now.
> Though normally a menu is shown, you can drop into the command line and
> have a lot of commands depending on the modules you built.
> Could people in contact with the vendors please tell us, what the
> requirements from the vendors are?
> Do you also know if GRUB 2 does not fulfill one of these requirements?

I missed the discussion on IRC. But FWIW, I have been working on making a
small initramfs image consisting of busybox and a few handy tools
(flashrom, iotools, pciutils, usbutils, networking support, etc). I hope to
polish it up in the not-too-distant future and make it easy to build in the
ChromiumOS SDK (Portage-based). If you're interested to try out a snapshot
I have put one up here (built for i386): http://goo.gl/a2kwE0 .

Everything is dynamically linked against uClibc and once integrated with
our build system can be easily targeted at different architectures. One
could also write test programs and compile them using the same toolchain,
then add it to the initramfs image or wget it from a live machine.

The idea is to give developers a familiar, standards-compliant shell
environment using a real kernel to provide drivers. Loading the kernel and
initramfs off the firmware ROM reduces dependencies on many drivers. So as
long as coreboot can init DRAM and run the payload, kernel and firmware
development can be done in parallel even with a lot of stuff broken. It
also means the bootloader doesn't need to be bloated with unnecessary
drivers and tools, and development is focused where it should be.

Perhaps we can call this LinuxBIOS :-)

David Hendricks (dhendrix)
Systems Software Engineer, Google Inc.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://www.coreboot.org/pipermail/coreboot/attachments/20140123/b820ae36/attachment.html>

More information about the coreboot mailing list