[LinuxBIOS] virtual box

Ward Vandewege ward at gnu.org
Sat Oct 27 00:51:11 CEST 2007

On Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 10:29:23AM -0700, ron minnich wrote:
> I think it's time we put an lguest kernel in flash, and show the world
> how free software does virtualization.


> This is a much simpler task than putting (e.g.) kvm in flash, as the
> helper for kvm (qemu) is pretty heavy: close to 4MB, whereas the
> lguest program which runs guests is a mere (!) 600K. And, unless we
> care about windows (I don't), we don't really need what kvm does.
> But we're going to need 2 mbyte flash parts. I need a little guidance
> here, probably from Ward. 

We squeeze lb + kernel with tiny patches (network but no usb) + small initrd
into 1MB. With 2MB, there should be a lot of space, enough for 600K of lguest
software. Is that a statically compiled copy of the lguest program, by the

That should leave about 400K for other stuff - how big is the lg kernel
module? I guess you could pull that off disk if necessary. Perhaps a 4MB
flash part would be nicer...

> I want to buy a kick-ass(TM) mainboard which
> runs LB, is supported by buildrom, and will support 2MB flash parts. I
> want to buy the package from (e.g.) newegg. This will be a wiki entry
> when I'm done.
> So:
> - what board?

How about that new mini-dtx gigabyte board that the SIS folks contributed
code for?

Alternatively, the gigabyte m57sli-s4; but as Torsten pointed out today there
are some issues still with PCI and PCI-E (interrupts) on that board. No acpi
yet either. But it's not so hard to add a second SOIC/SPI chip on the free
pads on the board - we have verified instructions (thanks Peter!). We can
burn SPI chips now on this board thanks to Carl-Daniels work. The board is
really very nice with 6 SATA ports and lots of bells and whistles.

Uwe also added support another MCP55-based board - the MSI K9N Neo, but I
think that one is hard to find now.

In any case we'll have to figure out what the largest flash part is that can
be addressed by the board.

> - where do I buy the flash parts

Good question. SOIC/SPI parts seem to be a bit harder to source, I've done
some preliminary looking but have yet to buy some chips for the m57sli-s4 v2.

> - I need a nice quiet case. Any suggestions?
> - I assume just about any old disk will do.
> - any favorite video card? Cheap is better.

Any $30 or so ATI card should be fine if you're not interested in super
graphics performance; the free accelerated drivers should appear sometime

Didn't that mini-dtx board have onboard vga? Even cheap discrete video cards
draw way too much power for my taste these days, if you're not interested in
3D acceleration.


Ward Vandewege <ward at fsf.org>
Free Software Foundation - Senior System Administrator

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