motherboard for vdr system

Alessio Sangalli alesan at
Sun Sep 22 15:18:00 CEST 2002

Gregg C Levine wrote:
> Hello from Gregg C Levine


> Actually, yes it was posted to the list, and I did read it. You do

Sorry, perhaps I missed it with any answer to it. That's because it was 
sent immediately after my subscription? Who knows.

> understand the theme behind this mail list, don't you? It concerns
> itself with the idea that the legacy bios on a machine can be replaced
> with something that will boot straight into Linux, even faster then the
> legacy bios, it replaced.

Ja. To make the things clear there was a period in my life where I used 
to program the ASM of various processors and interact directly with bios 
services at the good old DOS days hehe.

The problem is that I didn't find much docs on the website; from when I 
posted the first time I've dovloaded the CVS and read few docs there, 
and I can understand much better now - and ask more precisely.

> remember correctly there are a few SiS based boards out there, which
> have an alternate form of video output, which is composite video based,
> but I don't remember which ones. Can you repost your message, but in

nope, I don't need it; the DVB cards can receive from satellite (or from 
a DVD) and they have an integrated hardware decoder with rgb video 
output that performs very well. The linux drivers are perfect and have 
more features that the windows ones (!). I don't actually need a graphic 
card for this system, as I have this pc near the tv ands no 
keyboard/monitor; however I woud like an AGP slot for future expansions.

> simpler terms? I think everyone else missed it, because of its original
> phrasing.

ok. I'll describe my system in detail and explain what I need and what I 
hope linuxbios will be able to give me.

Hardware: motherboard with an AMD duron cpu, 128MB pc133 sdram; 80GB hdd 
(necessary for the storage of the recordings; the size of the system 
software, including DVB drivers and the VDR application is few MBs); DVD 
drive; serial port with home-made infrared LIRC receiver. And, of 
course, two DVB PCI cards.

Software: I have a simple (Slackware) linux installation, with no X nor 
unnecessary applications; when the systems boots up it a script is 
started from rc.local and loads the drivers and fires up the VDR 
program. Now I can use it my tv "on screen display" as output and an 
infrared remote control as input. It's perfect, VDR can even program the 
nvram of the motherboard to turn on the pc immediately before a 
recording (think you're out at work and want to record a cool tv-show or 
something) and then shutdown again the system. As you can see I need no 
special hardware or so, very simple: a serial port, a PCI bus, a ide 
interface for hdd and dvd.

Now, one of the most boring drawbacks of this system is the slow boot up 
time; even if linux itself is not so slow to startup, all the legacy 
bios time make the system boot in no less than 40-50 seconds!

I hope that installing linuxbios I will be able to boot much faster. Now 
I want to understand, that if I can really put my kernel image, with ide 
and xfs support (xfs is a filesystem suitable for very large data files 
like the ones made by an audio/video recording, that's why I use it) 
into the flash memory of my motherboard, or only a small linux that 
boots another kenrnel image (or a boot loader like LILO) found on the 
hard disk, exactly like a traditional BIOS. What exactly is the famous 
'disk on chip'? Will I be able to program the startup of the computer at 
a particular time or shutdown it by software?

And, an advice for a good amd motherboard with no particular 
setup-problems; I saw the pc-chips / ECS ones that are quite cheap and 
generally avaiable, with good features (such as integrated ethernet or 
similar); can I go with one of those, or will I end up to debug ASM code 
with a PCI analyzer?? eheh

thank you, I hope I've been clearer now!

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