[SeaBIOS] [PATCH 0/7] vgabios improvements

Kevin O'Connor kevin at koconnor.net
Thu Apr 17 01:21:08 CEST 2014

On Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 04:00:07PM -0700, H. Peter Anvin wrote:
> On 04/16/2014 03:47 PM, Kevin O'Connor wrote:
> > On Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 06:56:57PM +0200, Gerd Hoffmann wrote:
> >> Emulating attributes would be great so you can actually navigate
> >> bootloader menus.
> > 
> > I took a look a closer look at this.  Some things I found:
> > 
> > - it looks like the syslinux menu on recent Fedora versions doesn't
> >   work correctly at all in text mode.  This can be most easily seen by
> >   disabling CONFIG_VGA_VBE on one of the standard qemu seavgabios
> >   builds - without vbe syslinux wont go into graphics mode and the
> >   same broken text menu is shown.  So, this isn't a seavgabios issue
> >   but a fedora and/or syslinux issue.
> > 
> ?!  I would love more details...

If I build SeaVGABIOS without vesa and run the Fedora 16 (or later)
installer in qemu I get a menu that is not centered and the bottom
line of the menu box isn't drawn.  Also, when I hit up arrow or down
arrow I can't see which menu item is highlighted.  I'm really not sure
if this is syslinux related though.  (This wasn't an issue in Fedora
15 or earlier - though they always show up as black-and-white.)  See
the attached screenshot as an example.

Steps to reproduce - grab latest seabios from
git://git.seabios.org/seabios.git , run "make menuconfig" and select
CONFIG_VGA_CIRRUS=y and CONFIG_VGA_VBE=n.  Then run "make", then
"mkdir qemutest; cp out/bios.bin qemutest/; cp out/vgabios.bin
qemutest/vgabios-cirrus.bin".  Then run qemu with: qemu-system-i386 -L
qemutest/ -m 512 -cdrom Fedora-19-x86_64-DVD.iso

> > - I took a quick look at what happens with the ati vgabios on my
> >   e350m1 if it is forced into a graphics mode (eg, mode 0x12).  I see
> >   similar results to what I see with coreboot native seavgabios.  So,
> >   it looks like most of our troubles are with the standard vgabios
> >   interface in graphics vs text mode and not something specific to
> >   seavgabios.

That section of my email was not related to syslinux.  As background,
we're looking into ways to run standard boot loaders with only a
graphical framebuffer by emulating text mode on top of a graphical
framebuffer.  The section above was discussing how the vgabios
interprets certain calls differently depending on whether it is text
or graphics mode.

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