[LinuxBIOS] IT8718F support.

Carl-Daniel Hailfinger c-d.hailfinger.devel.2006 at gmx.net
Wed Aug 30 18:17:35 CEST 2006

Stefan Reinauer wrote:
> * Uwe Hermann <uwe at hermann-uwe.de> [060830 14:24]:
>> Hi,
>> On Tue, Aug 29, 2006 at 11:31:23PM +0200, Stefan Reinauer wrote:
>>> * Carl-Daniel Hailfinger <c-d.hailfinger.devel.2006 at gmx.net> [060829 23:06]:
>>>> Yes, he is. This has the potential to get quite a lot of people started
>>>> and getting any output at all is a major motivation factor even if the
>>>> rest of the code for bringup has yet to be written.
>> That's a great idea! I figure it should be possible to create a
>> repository of some sort which contains such ROM images.
>> That eliminates the need to understand the build process and compile
>> stuff, which will lower the entry bar for a few people and might get
>> them interested in the project.
> ok, lets think this further: You get a LinuxBIOS-string on serial and
> then you do _what_ with that image? Have a shell? Torsten Duwe's serial
> loader or llshell might be candidates here.

Both won't help if RAM and CAR don't work yet.
But the string alone should give us an idea the specific mainboard needs
additional setup before it can speak to the SuperIO or not.

>> As for the Super IOs I'd use another approach; simply download all
>> datasheets you can get your hands on and add support for the respective
>> part (which is what I'm doing with the ITEs; when Im done I'll probably
>> continue with Winbond).
> After my last mail, thinking about it,... how many vendors are we
> talking about here,..? and how many chips per vendor? 
> It might indeed be a pretty good idea to exhaust the space just to get
> some ground. SuperIOs age less than southbridges, do they?

We face various constraints here:
* People are less likely to perform experiments with their newest machines
* Supporting Intel will be a headache
* flashrom should work on the systems we are targeting to eliminate the
  need for an EEPROM programmer
* Some boards are shipped without serial port
* we don't care which boards are/were best-sellers, we only care which
  boards we can find enough testers for

Considering these constraints, I suggest the following plan:
* Call for action via FSF, point to <website with further instructions>
* provide linuxbios-check .rpm/.deb/.tar.gz/ebuild with the following
  (half-)automated tests:
  - flashrom to find out on which boards we can flash the BIOS easily
  - sensors-detect for SuperIO detection
  - lspci -vvv
  - dmidecode
  - dmesg (or /var/log/boot.msg)
  - ask user whether he has a serial port onboard
  - ask user which parts of lspci are add-on cards
  - ask user for exact mainboard name
  - ask user for model of flash chip
  - ask user for SuperIO
  - upload results to <special address which feeds database>
  - if SuperIO or mainboard is known, offer ROM image for download
* once we have a reasonable overview of people willing to test and
  their respective boards, we can decide which boards to attack first
* after we have support for the first mass-marketed board, make sure
  to spread the word (and make people with unsupported boards envious)

Once I find some time, I'll implement the plan.

What do you think?


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