[OpenBIOS] User-extentions (was Re: More comments and a proposal...)

Alle Metzlar matrix at xs4all.nl
Sun Mar 1 23:47:54 CET 1998

Alexander Viro wrote:

> On Sat, 28 Feb 1998, Dave Cinege wrote:
> <snip>
> >
> > The BIOS **MUST** be able to at least read one common FS or this projects
> > usfulness has been cut down 10,000%!
> >
>         Why? What kind of filesystem should it understand? FAT??? Damn,
> I'ld prefer not to have the stinker around at all. And it would be the
> last place where I'ld put the kernel. Especially if DOS will be able to
> access it. Not to mention Sucks95 or NT. If it comes to that - who needs
> access to the filesystem? DOS - no. It has its own bootloader that _must_
> be present in the first sector of partition. Sucks - also no. By the same
> reasons. NT? Has its own loader. OS/2 - ditto. What remains? Right, all
> kinds of UNIX. Considering the fact that Linux and *BSD are free what
> prevents us from making our own filesystem and implementing it for these
> systems? It _must_ be more reliable than FAT. Solaris is not free, but
> that's the reason why you don't recompile the kernel there. As far as I
> can understand you don't like the fact that LILO should be executed on
> each recompilation of the kernel, right? So it's an issue only for free
> systems.
>         Comments?
>                                                                 Al

 YES! What is BIOS? In my opinion nothing more than a small layer between
hardware and OS. Lots of functions of BIOS could be handled by the OS, except
for POST routines. FS: let this be handled by the OS. Remind Linux: it can
coexist next to any possible OS.

Again, what is BIOS? At startup or reset, the CPU points at address F000:FFF0.
At this point BIOS should start execution of POST, a couple of test and
initialization routines. At a certain point POST activates INT 19h. INT 19h
read the boot sector (sector 1, track 0) from the (primary) boot device, and
writes these data to address 0000:7C00h, and BIOS transfers control to the data
a this address, which in turn loads the OS. Want to change this? Then you will
probably also have to rewrite most or all OSses. So, what's the goal of
OpenBIOS. A BIOS that can only be used by a few people, or a BIOS that can be
used by everybode who wants to, whatever OS they use, whether it sucks or not!


Alle Metzlar
Matrix Technologies
P.O. Box 40, NL 1724 ZG Oudkarspel
The Netherlands
Tel: (+31) 226 316889 Fax: (+31) 226 312157
EMail: matrix at xs4all.nl
WWW:   http://www.xs4all.nl/~matrix/  (Matrix Technologies' BIOS Web)

Author of:
Het BIOS boekje, Uitg. Pim Oets, ISBN 90-5722-013X
Das BIOS Buch, Franzis' Verlag, ISBN 3-7723-4832-7
Die BIOS CD-ROM, Franzis' Verlag, ISBN 3-7723-8612-1

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