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Roboot's BOF

From: Eric Salomé
Subject: Roboot's BOF
Date: Fri, 26 May 2006 14:57:36 +0200

Roboot's birth of feather

Dear all,

I’d like to talk about some ideas that came to me a few months ago when
I heard about Grub (legacy) and gave it a try on my PC (Linux +
I thought (like others) Grub needed some enhancements and I see most of
them are already on their way with Grub 2.
Thoughts, ideas are like free software, they get better when shared, so
let’s try this one :

Grub legacy’s lack of scripting feature, but also a need for modularity,
expandability + a project I care for (and personal experience among
other things), mix that and it gets : 
why not try Grub + Forth to see how it goes ?

Let’s call it “Roboot”.

I’ve spend some free time doing a “thing that works for me” as a start.
Technically, It turns out as a boot loader (using Grub’s stage1 –
stage1.5) embedded with full ANSI Forth compiler/interpreter that calls
Grub’s library routines to do keyboard/screen/disk input/output, etc. 
Calling Grub’s menu functions or any registered Grub C functions can be
mixed in Forth scripts to get powerful scripting features. 
It computes 1 + 1 and it loads OS among other things.

Also works with underlying Linux OS on i386. And no, it doesn’t
read/execute Fcode device drivers yet (if there is any sparc fan among

All of current Grub 2 development sources will be useful to next
versions of “Roboot” if any, including :
- better memory management
- modularity in supported input/output devices
- support for dynamic loading of C routines (Roboot already have Forth
modules dynamic loading)
- even scripting routines (though it won’t be used the same)

I still had some spare time to see how it goes. So that I have a running
Grub 2 module, built on “BigForth” by Bernd Paysan, that adds a Forth
engine to current version of Grub 2 development. It also runs on
grub-emu under i386-pc.
I kind of believe that “Roboot” tries might be useful to current/next
versions of Grub in some way. What’s your opinion ?

Best Regards,

Eric Salomé - Paris, France

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