PVR with LinuxBIOS. What board is recommended? Some questions

Brian Maly bmaly at angstrom.com
Mon Apr 26 16:09:00 CEST 2004

> 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?

You will need some video device supported by linuxbios. If the video
chipset is supported in linuxbios, then it should work, but its worth
mentioning that VGA is not yet supported on many/most motherboards...
Framebuffer support may be a better option. You could use something like
an ATI RageXL or other supported framebuffer device.

> 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?

You will probably need to initialize this device somehow. If you had a
kernel module or some XFree86 patch that does the all of the video init
(i.e. biosless init), this will work. Otherwise you will have to create
a linuxbios driver for this device so the init can be done in linuxbios.

> 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 do (1) kernel on DoC, use (2) FILO to boot a kernel off the HD,
or (3) etherboot to load the kernel from 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?

Linuxbios should boot most kernels. almost all 2.4.X and 2.6.X have
worked fine for me.

> 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).

Some Opteron MB's have some decent support (even framebuffer).. i.e.
Arima/hdama or most of the Tyan's. Tyan may give you a better selection
because more motherboards are supported. This assumes you want to dish
out some $$$ for an opteron.

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