[coreboot] Rettungsboot

Igor Skochinsky skochinsky at mail.ru
Sat Nov 26 19:18:51 CET 2016

Hello Nico,

Saturday, November 26, 2016, 6:42:40 PM, you wrote:

NH> Hey coreboot folks,
NH> here's something that's bugging me for a long time: Our lack of an out-
NH> of-the-box booting experience.

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

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

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

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

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

NH>   o a set of supported partition table formats,

NH>   o a set of supported file systems,

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

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

https://xkcd.com/927/ comes to mind immediately.

What would be the incentive for the boot media creators to support yet
another booting format, supported by a tiny amount of systems?
Why not instead consider including a minimal subset of SeaBIOS or
Tianocore (enough for booting), or maybe do a survey and try to support the most common
variations of grub/isolinux etc used on such CDs?

 Igor                            mailto:skochinsky at mail.ru

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