Eric W Biederman ebiederman at
Wed Sep 25 21:52:00 CEST 2002

ollie lho <ollie at> writes:

> On Thu, 2002-09-26 at 09:13, Bari Ari wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > ollie lho wrote:
> > 
> > >We should start a project call OmniBoot (not OmniBook^TM) which can boot
> > >any architecture.
> > >  
> > >
> > If the source could be shared it would certainly make sense, instead of 
> > all this reinventing of the wheel.
> > 
> Well, I do think there will be a lot of code sharing. As predicted by 
> Ron, those bootloaders are getting more like OS kernel by itself. With
> careful architecting, we can have a portable bootloader.

API wise etherboot is now portable.  And people from other architectures
have been picking off it's drivers for a while.  And the ELF file
format is portable across architectures.

Where Ron missed in his prediction is the size differences between a regular
OS and a bootloader.  16KB vs. 600KB is huge.

There still remains a place for multiple bootloaders even if we start
getting cross platform bootloaders.  Too many people want significantly
different semantics. 

A challenge with some of the embedded stuff is that a number of the
embedded architectures are much easier to boot than pc.  So it isn't
a problem to merge the system setup code and the bootloader.   Blob,
ppcboot, and armboot all seem to share that property.  

I do not believe they you can easily swap out ram, or have an interesting
pci bus on most of embedded bootloaders I have seen.  And while you can
do it I don't think putting motherboard information into a generic kernel
is the right thing to do either.


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