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[Gnewsense-dev] GRUB as firmware available for Yeeloong

From: Vladimir 'φ-coder/phcoder' Serbinenko
Subject: [Gnewsense-dev] GRUB as firmware available for Yeeloong
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2010 22:44:47 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla-Thunderbird (X11/20091109)

Hello, all. I'm happy to announce that today I had a first grub able to

load linux while playing a role of firmware. It's possible that some of
peripherals aren't inited but I have a working desktop in linux
BEWARE: it's alpha
Few advantages:
-Modularity. Put in flash what you want in flash.
-Flexibility. You can embed a script in flash image.
-Filesystem and Partition tables support. With it you can load kernels
from e.g. lvm, gpt, zfs, xfs, ufs,...
-Serial port support. You can have a console on serial port in addition
or instead of keyboard+screen. Default is to use only grpahic console.
If it's asked often enough it can be changed to default double console
-Most of features available with x86 grub are available on yeeloong too.

ToDos (you can ask for more precise status on those items if you're
interested or want to volunteer):
-Currently grub has no flasher. So when grub is in flash one can't use
it to flash something else from it (but flashrom from OS should be
usable). Possible solutions:
-- Convince pmon guys to drop advertisement clause from relevant files,
then it can be ported to grub
-- Port flashrom. Only part of it is license compatible but it seems
like that part is all we want
-- Flash from OS with flashrom.
-Add NVRAM support.
-Add compression.
-Optimise video for 16-bit screen
-UDMA support for faster kernel loading.
-USB support
-Network support

How to obtain. It's available as a bzr checkout from:

Prerequisites: automake, ruby, autoconf, python, gcc, bison
./grub-mkimage -O yeeloong_flash -o grub.img -d .  sh normal linux
minicmd part_msdos ata ext2 reboot halt serial

before you proceed further be sure to have a way to restore your flash.
I recommend having a separate PLCC chip with working pmon and
hot-swapping technique. If you don't understand the last sentence please
do NOT proceed.
DISCLAIMER: NO WARRANTY of whatever damage would occur to your computer

Then in pmon:
load -r -f bfc00000 <path to>/grub.img

Vladimir 'φ-coder/phcoder' Serbinenko

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