[OpenBIOS] Filesystem code in BIOS

Benjamin Scott hawk at ttlc.net
Sun Mar 1 11:30:01 CET 1998

DC = Dave Cinege <dcinege at psychosis.com>
BS = Ben Scott (me)
DC> The BIOS **MUST** be able to at least read one common FS or this
DC> projects usfulness has been cut down 10,000%!

BS>   I don't know about "must".

DC> I say must because why the hell are we doing this otherwise!?!?!?

  Calm down.  Don't blow a gasket.  :-)  I am against "must" mainly
because "must" is counter to the entire *idea* of free and open
software.  If I wanted "must", I'd buy a Microsoft OS and be told by
Bill Gates how things should be done.  I like Linux because *I* can
choose how I want to do things.

DC> I want an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE for greater flexabilty and
DC> I also don;t think it should be over modularized,

  So you want greater flexability but you don't want it to be modular. 
Those two requirements conflict.  :-)

  Okay, okay, you said "over modularized".  :-)  I do agree.  I'm not
saying we should invent the mother of all firmware here.  I'm just
saying some things are easily modularlized, and we really should do so,
otherwise about half the people on this list are always going to be
pissed off (and I might be part of that half).  :-)  It shouldn't be
that hard.  One state goal has been a standard API to get at all BIOS
functions, not just standard INT support.  If we do that, we can call it
ourselves from things like the UI.  Makes the UI drop-in replaceable. 
The same goes for hypothetical filesystem support -- all you need is a
simple conditional that either jumps into the filesystem module or spits
out an error.

DC> that people have to keep recompiling their BIOS every week like a
Linux kernel is.

  At least in the begining, I think we may have to expect that.  Because
of its critical nature, we have come to regard the flash ROM as holy. 
Well, before LILO came along, the MBR was holy, too.  Maybe it's time
for another reformation.  :-)

DC> simple FS support should not be optional. Boot menu support should
not be
DC> optional. If you have OpenBIOS on your box it should me you can do
DC> things, not 'oh I forgot to compile that in'

  We can't protect the user against everything they might do wrong.  The
main reason I think we should stress modular design is limited flash
space -- we may not have sufficient room to do everything otherwise.  Or
we may.  I don't know.  :)

DC> It's not reasonable to strive for an all aroung everything x86 BIOS.
DC> TOO MUCH WORK. It will never come to be. Everyone and their mother
DC> want a little feature int he tree, the base BIOS ill nto get the
attention it
DC> deserves, and all the options will grow to a product that doesn't
even fit in
DC> 1MBit to get all the base features we are talking about.

  "An entirely new UNIX OS under GPL?  Written from the ground up?  On
the PC??  Forget it.  It will never work.  And even if it did, it would
be too much work."

  I'm sure glad Linus didn't listen to comments like that.  :-)

GW = Greg Weeks <greg at durendal.ml.org>
GW> OS specific code does NOT belong in the BIOS.
BS> Why not?
DC> Because upgrading the BIOS should not be a daily routine.

  Again: Why not?

DC> You are confusing boot strap with actual loader. (stage1 v stage2)

  The bootstrap used to *be* the actual loader.  My point is, why should
we bother with a two-stage boot process?  Why not put it all in
firmware?  I like that better.  More elgant and less things to go wrong.

GW> P.S. can we change the list to have a reply-to header that points
GW> back to the list?
BS>   I second this.
DC> I regret to inform you, that your request has been denied.

  I've seen at least four requests for this; can I ask why not?  :-)

DC> ext2 is also nearly universal,

  Well.... DOS, OS/2, Win95, NT, Mac, and many UNIXes support FAT right
out of the box.  Not many support ext2 that way.

> I have beaten to death why this is needed.

  Apparently some people don't think the question is answered.  :-)  I
don't like beating a dead horse either (well, not usually <g>), but
there does appear to be some life left in this here equine.  :-)

						-- Ben

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