[coreboot] Rettungsboot

Nico Huber nico.h at gmx.de
Sat Nov 26 18:42:40 CET 2016

Hey coreboot folks,

here's something that's bugging me for a long time: Our lack of an out-
of-the-box booting experience.

All our payloads that don't implement legacy boot facilities (i.e. BIOS,
UEFI), only work in the usual case, to boot an installed OS that's con-
figured to work with that payload. But they stink at booting in the un-
usual case, e.g. from installation, rescue or live boot media.

One could now point a finger at the developers of those media and say,
they only have an MBR / UEFI boot partition, no GRUB / FILO / whatever
configuration file. So it's their fault? Well, I say, it's our fault!
We never specified how a civilized, general booting process shall look

My proposal: Let's specify a fallback boot mechanism for bootloaders for
the case they feel lost. This would include

  o a configuration file format (to specify a binary to load along
    with its parameters),

  o a search scheme for the configuration file (e.g. search the first
    partition of each disk for `/boot/rettungsboot`),

  o a set of supported partition table formats,

  o a set of supported file systems,

  o a set of binary formats that one can expect the payload to support
    (e.g. multiboot2, multiboot, bzImage).

The configuration file format should be most lean and simple. We might
want support for multiple options (i.e. a simple menu) though. Some-
thing like the legacy GRUB format maybe?

What do you think?

Best regards,

PS. Yes, it's too late to change the name (see subject). For the curi-
    ous, who didn't look it up yet: "Rettungsboot" is the German phrase
    for "life boat".

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