RE: Linux/ix86 booting process and BIOS

From: Strohm Thomas (FV/SLD) * (
Date: Thu Feb 24 2000 - 06:47:44 EST


Andre Hendrick wrote:

> > My question now is:
> > - To which extent is the initialization stuff performed by the
> > BIOS repeated by the Linux kernel?

> Everything the BIOS gets "wrong"......

Wrong or not wrong depends largely on the point of view :-)
If the BIOS has a certain concept of some particular feature
and Linux does have one as well, albeit different from the
one of the BIOS, this doesn't necessarily mean that the BIOS
get's it "wrong." If, however, the BIOS deals with things in
a way not compatible to existing specifications, the situation
is different.

One of the central issues of the discussion at hand is that due to
the fact that the source code of the BIOS is not accessible,
we are not able to improve upon it and, as a consequence,
have to accept the way it acts...

> > - Which tasks really have to be performed by the BIOS? What
> > does Linux rely on?
> Nothing soon, I would like to see the DEATH of BIOS calls!

I guess we all would like to get the proprietary software (with
no available source code) out of the PC. Or, even better, forget
about the PC at all :-) (one of my biggest enemies is the word

> > - Could one imagine a BIOS which (basically) just initializes IDE,
> > loads LILO and jumps to it? (assuming that we boot from hda).
> Oh, if life was that simple, I would not be here!

Yes. I already supposed that it was not that easy. But we already
have a lot of input: the OpenBIOS things, experience from the
LinuxBIOS project, the source code of the Award BIOS, etc. I think
it's not too much of gambling to conclude that a solution (i.e.
booting Linux from a customizable and lean open source BIOS) is not
that far away...


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Feb 29 2000 - 21:00:09 EST