[OpenBIOS] What OpenBIOS should contain
Edward Brotsman Dreger
eddy at intc.net
Mon Jul 26 18:33:50 CEST 1999
>> Store the NIC driver on a specially-formatted floppy. The floppy would
>> call a BIOS routine to register NIC driver of size XXXX at address
>> XXXX, and the BIOS would take over.
> Unfortunately, this would defeat the purpose of a diskless workstation.
> This is why a Linux style BIOS configuration is advantageous. You pick
> your NIC and recompile.
Also true. I was trying to think of an even more modular approach, and
the floppy probably was a bit bass ackwards.
With a modular BIOS design, there would be space for X number of option
ROMs in the flash memory...
Perhaps a slicker, more useful approach would be to have a tool that
allows loading Linux-like modules into flash. The system could then be
configured in the BIOS setup which driver to use.
Example (imagine a few dozen computers):
- load Intel Pro/100, DEC 21x4x, 3c590/3c90x drivers into all BIOSes
- config each individual machine to use whatever NIC
- phase out 3Com cards, using only EE/100 and Tulips
- reconfig as needed
- remove 3Com drivers from flash
As long as BIOSes are modular, why not have load/unload module options? I
think that would be *really* cool. No need to even recompile; just flash
a new module into the BIOS. Custom BIOSes in no time!
I don't mind recompiling -- in fact I don't run modules in my kernels, and
recompiles are the only way -- but I think it would be nice to change
computers without having to recompile each BIOS.
As long as I'm rambling... pre-boot management. :-) I'd love the ability
to flash BIOS modules from one location over a network.
I know that Award/Phoenix has some sort of pre-boot BIOS diagnostic type
tool that, if memory serves me, is around 8KB. It's certainly not as
advanced as what one could dream up, but the "remote management" and I/O
redirection code clearly isn't that large.
Of course, Linux 2.2 kernel supports redirecting the console to a serial
port. Smells useful...
Edward Brotsman Dreger "Your Success is Our Success
Network & Systems Manager Our Expertise is Your Advantage"
Brian's Consulting Services /~\__/~\ www.brics.com * 316-794-8922
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