[coreboot] LinuxBIOS V1 ?!

Tyson Sawyer tsawyer at irobot.com
Fri Jan 29 21:08:13 CET 2010


A small voice from the distant past here.

I have a custom system using LinuxBIOS V1. Yes!  1! This is a PIII/440BX 
based system.

We have found that we can boot 2.6.23-17, but can not boot 2.6.24. 
Investigation using characters posted on the serial port suggest that we 
are starting the kernel and getting to about the point where the clock 
speed of the CPU and then it just stops as far as we can tell.

We've found that if we put in more output to the serial port, it dies 
earlier in the code.  We can't be sure, bit it appears that it might be 
some sort of a time based problem.  It dies after a certain amount of 
time and if we use that time by polling characters out the serial port, 
then we don't get as far through the code before death.

One thought that almost fits the facts is that a interrupt might be 
occurring and not handled properly.  But it happens that the CPU clock 
speed code disables interrupts and this is where it is dying.

There seems to have been a number of changes in 2.6.24 to support 
booting kernels in virtual machines and to merge ia64 and ia32 under 
x86.  Some notes were added about 32 bit boot loaders that reference 
LinuxBIOS.  However, we've been unable to find what it is that we are 
doing wrong.  We have grep'ed the internet and browsed through the 
CoreBoot email archives, but failed to find anything that might have 
been in either "place".

Anyone out there have any suggestions or know what happened during 
2.6.24 development that might have changed the requirements for 
successfully starting a kernel?


Tyson D Sawyer                     iRobot Corporation
Lead Systems Engineer              Government & Industrial Robotics
tsawyer at irobot.com                 Robots for the Real World
781-418-3329                       http://www.irobot.com

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