[OpenBIOS] OpenBIOS: reality check

Benjamin Scott hawk at ttlc.net
Sun Mar 1 00:51:56 CET 1998

DK = David Kennedy <dkennedy at engsoc.carleton.ca>
DK> I was told (recently) that there is a Linux network boot ROM code
DK> on the Web somewhere.  It might be worthwhile to check it out be-
DK> cause it might be a good start to this project.  I don't know the
DK> reference unfortunately.

  I was sent this URL, maybe it is what you're thinking of?


DK> I  just  think  back  to  the days when I had some wierd piece of
DK> hardware that nobody wanted to support, and I had to money to buy
DK> a replacement.  Especially when the hardware was free.

  Well, don't forget, if that happens, nothing is going to stop you from
using the old-fashioned method of netcard boot ROMs.  I think we should
try and design this project such that, if native support for X isn't
available in our code, we can fall back on whatever X used before our
new BIOS came along.  :-)

DK> I don't think that offers enough support.  Being able to boot off
DK> of either SCSI or EIDE is fine, but _WHICH_ SCSI, and _WHICH_ EI-
DK> DE?  Which partition, which controller, which HD...

  I do agree.  As far as picking which device controller, I think you
might be able to determine controllers from BIOS extensions installed in
upper memory, and pick the one you want.  Any such controller which
supports INT13 would then let you pick the drive to boot from. 
Partitions are entirely logical level anyway and thus are no problem.

DK> To me, a BIOS password is useless.  Actually, it's more than use-
DK> less, it's damn annoying.  But, hey, that's me.

  Oh, yeah, the usefulness is limited.  But for some things -- say, for
example, an office PC where you don't want people rebooting the machine
to obtain unrestricted access -- they can be useful.  It's a lot easier
to hit RESET then it is to rip open the case and move a jumper.  :-)

> I have yet to see a machine that will boot without a graphics
> card installed.  But it's the BIOS that's preventing it, not the
> MB.

  I have seen it done.  I believe the machine had an Award BIOS, but
it's been awhile and I'm not sure anymore.  Granted, the OS might
object, or some of your hardware might object, but there was nothing in
the BIOS forcing you to have video.

DK> People are always complaining about code bloat in the Linux kernel,
DK> this is another idea to resolve that issue.

  Wow.  I usually consider the Linux kernel small.  I mean, compare
Linux to NT.  No Thanks.  :-)

> Do  Suns,  Apollos,  HPs,  IBMs,  NeXTs,  etc.  have  rudamentary
> filesystem code in their BIOS?

  I know for an absolute fact that is has been done on the Alpha. 
Anything more I can't be sure of.  :)

					-- Ben <hawk at ttlc.net>

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