PVR with LinuxBIOS. What board is recommended? Some questions

Jochen Roemling jochen at roemling.net
Mon Apr 26 15:00:01 CEST 2004

Hi all,

I'm trying to build up a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) using LinuxBIOS
because of it's fast startup time and because I'm interested in playing
around with this on-the-edge matter.

I spent hours on the net trying to find a suitable motherboard. To be
serious: I found not even one that seems to be supported by LinuxBIOS,
supports everything I need and is still in the shops of the retailers or
eBay. The Status page on linuxbios.org seems to contain mainly very
small boards with only 2 or 3 PCI slots that are aimed towards cluster

Those questions may all sound like newbee questions to you, but please
reply at least yes or no, I would then commit a HOWTO if I get the whole
stuff working:

1. I found out that LinuxBIOS supports VGA only for very few chipsets
like the SiS630. If I would use a VGA card that comes with it's own BIOS
(let's say some ATI radeon) and not using any on-board-VGA-device, would
it work if the mainboard has a LinuxBIOS-supported chipset? My feelings
say "yes", don't they?

2. I'm going to use the Hauppauge PVR 350 card that has a TV-out which -
according to the net - is available to Linux as a frame buffer device,
so X and the TV Applications should be able to use this. Does this mean
I would be able to boot LinuxBIOS with serial console only and then
start up XFree86 using this PVR 350 Framebuffer device?

3. Just to verify that I understood everything right: The Kernel that is
burned into the DoC will be the kernel that runs the machine after
bootup and it is possible to mount the root fs via NFS just like LTSP
does? Or will the kernel on the DoC just to be used to initialize the
hardware and then load another kernel via the net or from disk? Or do I
have both possibilities?

4. Is it correct that kernel 2.4.19 is the latest one supported by
LinuxBIOS? Should the patches be good for 2.4.26 also? What about 2.6?

Maybe you can recommend some motherboards out of the box that are still
available in the shops? They should support CPUs with about 1200 MHz,
have at least 2 PCI slots for TV cards, another PCI slot for an AC97
soundcard with optical SP/DIF output (only if there is no such
linux-supported connector on-board) and another PCI slot for a 3com
network card with BootROM (not needed if the LinuxBIOS on the DoC is
running the whole machine and can mount root via NFS or if the board can
net-boot via the on-board NIC).

Thanks in advance for your help which will be highly appreciated!

Best regards

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