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possible? load extension ROMs when BIOS doesn't (e.g. laptops)

From: address@hidden
Subject: possible? load extension ROMs when BIOS doesn't (e.g. laptops)
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2009 13:53:17 -0500

I searched and couldn't find anything like this in the archives,
apologies if this has already been discussed or is far off-topic.

Many notebook computers can't boot from PCI-express expansion cards
(example ExpressCard SATA controllers) for the simple reason that,
although the card contains an extension BIOS with boot support, the
main BIOS didn't invoke it.

Would it be possible for a bootloader on an internal (recognized by
main BIOS) disk to call these missed extension ROMs so that the
attached disk becomes available for boot?  The only thing hurdle I'm
aware of, (as an experienced programmer of microcontrollers and
user-mode x86, but never x86 boot/kernel code) would be if the main
BIOS has not performed Plug-n-Play configuration of these cards so the
BIOS isn't even mapped into memory yet.  I'm pretty sure that PCI and
PCI-express cards would have been configured, and PCMCIA cards
wouldn't, and I don't know whether ExpressCard would be waiting for
some form of card services.

Does this sound like something that can/should be solved in the bootloader?

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