PVR with LinuxBIOS. What board is recommended? Some questions

Hendricks David W. dwh at lanl.gov
Mon Apr 26 16:01:01 CEST 2004

On Mon, 26 Apr 2004, Jochen Roemling wrote:
> 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
> nodes.

The EPIA-M seems to be a popular choice for personal video apps.

> 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?

Vendors haven't exactly been the most cooperative with sharing VGABIOS 
info. But we do have video working at least on the EPIA, SiS630, and now 
the Rage XL chips that come on server boards like the S2885 and HDAMA.

However, you probably want something more powerful than those. We don't 
have nVidia or ATi Radeon support coming up from the get-go just yet, but 
so far we've been able to start a GeForce FX vgabios with 8x AGP support 
on a Tyan S2885. This is done with an x86 emulator that runs the vgabios 
after LinuxBIOS has already started.

> 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?

You can boot your kernel from pretty much anywhere. If your flash part is 
big enough, you can put a kernel on it. Otherwise, you can boot off an ide 
hard disk, compact flash, or over the network.

> 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?

You can run any kernel. We're currently running 2.6.5 on our Opteron 

> 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,

HOw much did you want to spend on the thing? If you want fast, you might 
want to try a Tyan S2880, as YhLu has that working with VGA (Rage XL). It 
also has plenty of PCI slots, and will take dual Opterons.

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